Kolkata: The Congress unit in West Bengal is in favour of fighting the coming Lok Sabha election “alone” in the State despite the party forging alliances with different regional outfits in other parts of the country in its bid to oust the BJP.
The view has been communicated to Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the final call on the issue would be taken by the AICC leadership, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) President Somen Mitra said.
The Congress has already been hit with the exodus of its elected representatives to the Trinamool Congress.
The Bengal unit of the Congress feels that an alliance with either the CPI(M) or the Trinamool Congress will not serve the “long-term” interests of the party. Such an eventuality will only further erode the party’s base in the State though it had tasted success in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh by forging alliances with regional parties the JD(S) and the Samajwadi Party, Congress leaders said.
“During my meeting with our party president Rahul Gandhi, I had clearly said that it would be good if we fight the Lok Sabha election alone. We may not win many seats but our party will continue to exist in Bengal in the future,” Mitra said.
“Forging an alliance with the Trinamool Congress might give us more seats, but it will also ensure that the Congress will cease to exist in Bengal as TMC is more keen on poaching our MLAs and elected representatives,” Mitra said.
According to State Congress leaders, aligning with the CPI(M)-led Left Front will not serve any purpose as it will not ensure winning seats as the Left itself is facing a rout in the State.
Congress sources, who did not wish to be named, said one of the main reasons behind the decision against aligning with the TMC is that the party is not very sure if it would be offered more than four LS seats, it presently has in the State, by the ruling party.
The argument against going for an alliance with the CPI(M) is lack of consistency on the part of the Left Front to remain in an alliance as it had unilaterally walked out of the alliance in 2016 after its defeat in the state assembly polls.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during TMC’s Martyrs Day rally on 21 July had set the target of winning all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said all secular and democratic forces should come together in order to defeat the BJP and TMC.
Out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, the TMC had won 34 seats, Congress four and CPI(M)and BJP two each in 2014.
The four seats which elected Congress MPs are in Malda and Murshidabad districts, which were traditional strongholds of Congress but have been penetrated by TMC.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Congress had contested 14 seats in the State and TMC in 27 seats and SUCI in one seat. The Congress had then won six seats, the TMC had 19 seats and the SUCI(C) one.