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Congress to Decide on Alliance with CPI(M) after Latter's Politburo Meet

Published: 14th February 2016 01:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2016 01:15 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW DELHI: After striking a pre-poll pact with DMK in Tamil Nadu, the Congress high command is expected to take a decision on the issue of alliance with the CPI(M) in poll bound West Bengal after a meeting of the Left party's politburo this week.

A senior Congress leader, who declined to be identified, said the high command would take a call after the CPI-M's top leadership deliberates on the issue.

The Politburo meeting on Tuesday will be followed by another of the Central Committee on the next two days. Last week, the CPI(M)-led Left Front in the state had formally agreed to discuss the issue of alliance with Congress, if it was approached.

Early this month, Congress leaders from the state, during a meeting with party vice president Rahul Gandhi, had unanimously rejected the idea of any alliance with Trinamool Congress but remained divided on a tie-up with the Left.

The Congress vice president had told them that party chief Sonia Gandhi will take a decision on the issue soon. His refrain was that in the emerging situation Congress is a "determining factor" in West Bengal.

Before it takes a final call on alliance, Congress would weigh which party in West Bengal could help it check BJP's march in the next Lok Sabha elections.

The AICC has so far remained tight-lipped about CPI(M)'s overtures to "save" the state from the ruling TMC. Former West Bengal chief minister and CPI(M) leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had recently urged the Congress to join hands with the party.

Congress had contested the last Assembly elections in alliance with Mamata Banerjee's party which dislodged the CPI(M)-led Left Front government after 34 years.

The two parties, however, parted ways in September 2012 after Trinamool Congress walked out of the UPA-II government at the Centre.

The Left is hoping that an alliance with the Congress this time around could queer the pitch for the ruling party, which is almost sure to win the upcoming Assembly elections, a view shared by a section of the Congress, too.

Sources said the view of the Congress' state unit in this regard will also carry weight.

Mamata's visit to 10 Janpath on December 9 to greet Congress President Sonia Gandhi on her birthday had set off speculation about whether the "birthday diplomacy" could signal the coming together of their parties.

Trinamool had been supportive of the Congress on various issues in the last session of Parliament with several in the Congress seeing it as a move by Mamata to keep the Congress away from the Left in West Bengal.

With the West Bengal Assembly elections about three months away, a section of state Congress leaders has been harping on the need for an electoral alliance with the Left Front to take on Trinamool Congress.

Mamata baiters in Congress also say that the Trinamool Congress shared power at the Centre with the BJP in the past, while the Left parties have been "good allies" at the Centre during UPA-I.

Reports from Kolkata last week spoke of growing chorus in the state CPI(M) in favour of forging an alliance with Congress.

In the CPI(M)'s state committee meeting in West Bengal, several party leaders had called for an alliance with Congress to take on the "bigger evil" Trinamool Congress.

The final decision on the issue will be taken by the party's Central Committee on February 17-18.

Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra have called upon the Congress to join hands to oust the TMC. Mamata had last week mocked CPI(M) and Congress for their efforts to forge an alliance, a reaction which the opposition parties termed as "a reflection of her fear of losing".

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