KOLKATA: Exuding confidence about the "tyrannical" Mamata Banerjee regime being
ousted in the ongoing West Bengal assembly polls, state Congress
president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says his party will join a new
coalition government with the Left Front to be formed on the basis of a
common minimum programme (CMP).
However, a call on the
coalition's chief minister and whether he would be from the Congress or
the LF will be taken "at an appropriate time".
Chowdhury - a Lok
Sabha member and one of the chief architects of the Congress-LF tie-up -
says the alliance between the traditional foes was a response to the
people's call for the opposition to unite and dethrone the "corrupt"
Trinamool Congress and free Bengal from its "misrule".
will be a common minimum programme and going by the response that we
have got in the first phase, this alliance will come to power and the
Congress will be a part of the government," Chowdhury told IANS in an
Congress leaders Manas Bhunia and Abu Hashem Khan
Chowdhury have said CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra was the
alliance's chief ministerial candidate. But the Bengal Congress chief
said the duo have spoken in their individual capacity.
now, neither the Congress nor the LF has decided on the chief
ministerial candidate. It will be decided at an appropriate time," he
Asked whether he was in the race, Chowdhury said: "I will abide by whatever our high command decides."
2011, the Congress had joined hands with the Trinamool to dethrone the
Left to end its 34 years of uninterrupted rule in the state. But five
years down the line, the entire equation has turned on its head.
"There is no denying the fact that under the Left's 34-year rule, not only the people of Bengal but we too suffered atrocities.
If then we were faced with a wolf, this time we are up against a
man-eater. The man-eater by the name of Trinamool has devoured democracy
and law and order. If not ousted, it will finish off the entire state,"
Candid enough to admit that the Congress
or the LF alone cannot dismantle the Trinamool, the parliamenarian said
the alliance was the only viable alternative to the ruling party.
like in 2011, now too, it's the people's call for the opposition to
unite and dethrone the ruling party. The Congress-LF alliance is the
only grouping that can achieve that," said Chowdhury.
has come under attack from both the BJP and the Trinamool especially on
account of the bitter rivalry between the Congress and the Left in
Kerala. But Chowdhury asserted the alliance neither signifies any
"existential crisis" nor an "opportunistic politics" of his party and
"The alliance has become the biggest issue in the polls
for our opponents and they are constantly attacking it. It's a big
indication of their discomfort. In the alliance, Mamata has already
started to hear the death knell of her despotic regime," Chowdhury said.
coming together of the two forces has been far from smooth. Internal
bickering and "heartburn" within both camps, the "friendly fights" in a
number of constituencies, especially in the Congress bastion of
Murshidabad, has often evoked angry reactions from Chowdhury himself.
constituents, particularly the RSP and the CPI, had openly expressed
their anguish, claiming their existence was being compromised for the
sake of the tie-up.
"We were traditionally opposed to each other -
both ideologically and politically. All differences cannot be wiped out
overnight," said Chowdhury who had earlier accused Left constituents -
the All India Forward Bloc and the RSP - of "being bribed by the
Trinamool to harm the alliance".
Chowdhury also refused to read much into the "friendly fights", saying several of these were "part of its electoral strategy".
LF chairman Biman Bose has said the arrangement with the Congress was
not an alliance but an "electoral understanding", an unfazed Chowdhury
insisted it was a formal alliance and not just a mere arrangement to
form a strong opposition.
"I won't get into semantics, one may
call it by whatever name, but for us it's an alliance," asserted
Chowdhury, pointing to joint campaigns by the parties across
While heavyweights from both the camps, including
the likes of Mishra and Bhunia, have participated in joint campaigns,
several Marxist leaders and candidates have shared the dais with
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi
during their election rallies in the state.
(Anurag Dey can be contacted at email@example.com)