The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Cong room for Mamata
- Municipal manoeuvrings peak as date is set for big fight

Calcutta, June 10: The Congress today left the door ajar for a post-poll pact with Mamata Banerjee's party in the event of a hung verdict after the civic elections on June 19.

'Nothing is impossible in politics. We may have to tie up with Trinamul if the Congress-led alliance fails to get absolute majority. However, I am confident about the Congress-led coalition's emergence as an alternative to the Left Fro-nt,' Union water resources development minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi told a news conference at the Congress headquarters this afternoon.

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee and his one-time rival Sudip Bandopadhyay were sharing the platform when Das Munshi was speaking to reporters.

Bandopadhyay, who quit Trinamul ahead of last year's Lok Sabha polls, had fought the elections from Calcutta North West as an Independent. Among his opponents was Mukherjee, then with Trinamul. Bandopadhyay returned to the Congress after losing the elections. Mukherjee broke away from Trinamul before the civic polls. He had also lost the Lok Sabha bid as the CPM took advantage of the split in Opposition votes.

Former state Congress chief Somen Mitra and working president Pradip Bhattacharya also attended today's media briefing, during which Das Munshi said 'nothing is impossible'. They also released the party manifesto for Bidhannagar municipality, which is going to the polls along with Calcutta Municipal Corporation.

'See, Subrata and Sudip have come together to take on the CPM after unsuccessfully fighting against each other. We should learn from this bitter experience that all those opposed to the communists should come on a common platform to put up a united fight and ensure their defeat,' Das Munshi said. He and state party chief Pranab Mukherjee had invited Mamata back to the Congress in the run-up to the polls.

Das Munshi said: 'The NDA is fast disintegrating and those who left us will have to return to the parent body in the near future.'

Mamata would not be alone in walking out of the BJP-led alliance, he assured. 'Look, (Telugu Desam leader) Chandrababu Naidu has already turned around and the Janata Dal (United) will follow.'

None of the Congress leaders criticised Mamata and instead stressed the need for a secular front to combat the communists. 'We may not be fully successful in our effort to avert a split in anti-Left votes this time, but we are hoping for better ties with like-minded parties before the Assembly polls,' Das Munshi said.

Echoing him, former chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray called upon Mamata and the Congress leaders to see to it that anti-CPM votes remained intact. 'Mamata, Priya, Subrata and Somen are all Congress products. I want them to sit across the table and fight the CPM together.' He will not hit the campaign trail. 'Who should I rally behind' Ray asked.

In the campaign rush, Mamata was not available for comment, but one of her party leaders wanted to remind the Congress brass that they were allied with the CPM in Delhi.

Email This Page