West Bengal Congress in dilemma over Mamata-Sonia meet

Sakal News Network
Thursday, 27 August 2020

The State Congress is in a dilemma after Wednesday’s virtual meet between opposition leaders jointly initiated by Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and WB Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

The State Congress is in a dilemma after Wednesday’s virtual meet between opposition leaders jointly initiated by Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and WB Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. Odisha CM of the NDA fraternity also joined the meet.

Sonia had sent a message to Mamata on Tuesday and later followed it up by a call proposing a virtual meeting of the ppposition leaders on the issue of COVID and the holding of the JEE and NEET. Mamata wanted the JEE and the NEET be postponed in view of the pandemic. With the Assembly poll in Bengal just some months away the State Congress wants to face the ruling TMC in the State in alliance with the CPI(M). But with Sonia warming up to Mamata Banerjee in the fight against the BJP at the national level has thrown up many questions to the State Congress, one of which is whether the central leadership approves of the State unit going with the Marxists in Bengal poll.

Many in the State claim that the perspectives are different at the national level and the State level. They point out that in the past when the State Congress was opposing the Left in Bengal the Congress-led UPA government at the national level was being supported by the CPI(M) from outside. Again, although the Marxist Kerala CM Pinyarai Vijayan wanted to be part of the virtual meet he couldn’t following opposition from the Kerala Congress. Pradip Bhattacharya, chairman of the coordination committee of the State Congress, saw nothing wrong in Sonia Gandhi calling a meet to rally Opposition leaders to protest against the Modi Government’s “unjust decisions”.

There was also an alliance between the Congress and the CPI(M) during the last Assembly poll but the outcome was not worthy at all. With the State Congress yet to decide on a new chief after the death of Somen Mitra recently observers are not that optimistic about the future of the alliance, especially after the BJP has emerged as the main opposition contender to the TMC. In the fray for the new State Cong chief are Murshidabad MP and Congress Opposition leader Adhir Chowdhury, Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Abdul Mannan and Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya. But with Chowdhury and Mannan at loggerheads Congress, many insiders say that the party may settle for Bhattacharya, although some say that the latter is no go-getter or has much clout within the party itself.

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