Rahul invites Bengal Congress leaders to Delhi

Kolkata, Jan 22 (IANS) Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday asked the party’s West Bengal leadership to meet him in Delhi on February 1 amid speculation about a possible alliance with the Left Front in the coming assembly polls.

“Rahul Gandhi has directed the state leadership and leaders of the frontal organisations to meet him in Delhi to express their views on the polls,” said state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
The former union minister said he would apprise the central leadership about the wish of the grassroot level workers of both the Congress and the CPI-M to forge an understanding in the elections to take on the Trinamool Congress.
“The people of the state are also eager to bring about a change,” said Chowdhury.
Congress leader Abdul Mannan, who is among those invited to the meet, said Gandhi had earlier said whatever decision was taken would be arrived at after discussions with the state Congress leadership.
“An alliance is needed against the Trinamool as people want to evict the party from power and save the state from misrule.
“If the Congress does not go along, then it will be akin to showing disrespect to the people’s wish. A political party which does not pay heed to the wishes of the people has to pay heavily in the long run. I am confident the people’s wish will be respected,” said Mannan.
West Bengal Congress spokesperson Om Prakash Mishra, a leading advocate of a tie-up with the Left Front, said he would try to impress upon the party high command the need for an alliance or a poll understanding.
Former state Congress chief Manas Bhunia, who has in the past expressed reservations about any tie up with the Left, said he would abide by the national leadership’s decision.
Other leaders called for the meeting are ex-state Congress presidents Pradip Bhattacharya and Somen Mitra, alongside former union minister Deepa Dasmunsi and state legislature party chief Mohammad Sohrab.
Leading lights of the CPI-M, including former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and politburo members Surjya Kanta Mishra and Mohammad Salim, have asked the Congress to side with the Left in its battle with the Trinamool.