Several issued rose up within the Congress Party, just the day after Congress Leaders shared a stage with an influential Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui at an election rally in Kolkata. In a series of tweets, Anand Sharma, Congress party spokesperson, demanded answers from the Congress’ Bengal unit while describing the alliance decision as ‘painful and shameful’.
Anand Sharma stated that the Congress’ alliance with parties like ISF and other such forces is completely against their core ideology. The ideology formed by Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism, which forms the soul of the party. He considers that these issues need to be approved by the CWC. Congress has no authority to be selective in fighting communalists but must do so in all its manifestations, irrespective of religion and colour.
“The presence and endorsement (of the) West Bengal PCC President (Chowdhury) is painful and shameful, he must clarify,” Sharma posted on Twitter.
On Congress being part of a government led by the Hindutva party Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, Sharma said that they are not an alliance partner and their party is not fighting elections together. There is a huge difference.
Replying to the remarks of the Congress leader Anand Sharma, on the alliance with Indian Secular Front (ISF), Congress senior leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, that West Bengal is in a situation where all the parties are in the charge of state and Congress anyhow will never take any decision of its own without taking permission of the authorities.
Chowdhury reacted smartly to Sharma’s attack stating that it is not fair on Sharma’s part to make such remarks without knowing the reality or the current situation. He further stated that it is the Left parties that are leading the coalition in Bengal. Congress has been discussing the Left parties for a long time. The main aim was to create an atmosphere where all the secular forces are together to fight the BJP and Mamata Banerjee.
“When the CPM is leading it…no one can question their secular credentials,” he asserted.
On Monday, Chowdhury stated that The CPM after talks with the ISF has given ISF 30 seats. And the Congress has secured 92 seats from the Left. Hence, instead of talking against communal forces, why is everyone talking against communists?
Chowdhury pointed out that the dais witnessed leaders like Sitaram Yechury, and the Congress was also invited. Sidewise, the ISF was also welcomed in the Brigade Ground, Kolkata. All the parties went there on the invitation of the Left. Then Sharma has no reason for giving such statements.
“The question is who do they want to strengthen – the communal forces or the secular forces? It is strange,” Chowdhury said.
Biman Bose, the Left front chairman, in the same press conference, said that after their discussions with Congress, CPIM felt that there won’t be any problem from now onwards.
Siddiqui who earlier was in talks with Asaududdin Owasis’s AIMIM formally joined the Left Front Congress Alliance for the West Bengal Assembly Elections at Saturday Rally. This really was also participated by Chowdhury, Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghelm and Congress in charge of West Bengal Jitin Prasada.
Before West Bengal Assembly polls, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Saturday had appointed party leader RS Bali as AICC Secretary, attached with AICC in-charge of West Bengal. Congress senior leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday said the Congress will contest 92 seats in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections.
As per the latest schedule from The Election Commission of India announced that the West Bengal election will start from March 27. West Bengal is announced to have eight-phased Assembly polls on 294 seats. The counting of votes is scheduled for May 2.
In the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections, there were a total of 294 seats, out of which Congress had managed to win 44 seats while the Left Front won 33 seats. The ruling TMC secured 211 seats and the BJP had secured three seats.