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Congress-Left ally can topple TMC in Bengal

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Kolkata: In a bid to topple the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal, the Congress leaders were trying to forge an alliance with the Left Front in the state.

State Congress general secretary Om Prakash Mishra also asserts that only a Congress-Left alliance can defeat the Trinamool.

However, a section of the state Congress leadership, including Manas Bhunia, point out that party workers had repeatedly come under attack from Communist cadres during the 34 years Left Front rule. They fear that a majority of the Congressmen could switch allegiance to the Trinamool or sit idle in case of a tie-up with the Left Front.

Beyond the boundaries of Bengal, the Congress and the Left are political foes in Kerala and Tripura, and a tie-up in the eastern state could “dilute” their rivalry in the two other states, argue critics. In such a scenario, the BJP – which has been trying to make inroads in Kerala and Tripura – would stand to gain.

However, Mishra is dismissive of such arguments.

“Electorally, we have competed against each other for over 60 years in Bengal and will continue to do so. But at the same time, we are on the same page in opposing the Trinamool’s misrule.”

“We cannot allow the Trinamool another reign of terror and, as opposition parties; it is our duty to provide the people a better alternative. So it is necessary for the Congress and the Left Front to come together,” Mishra told reporters.

Contending that 40 percent of votes which the BJP polled in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections would come to the Left-Congress combine, Mishra has twice written to party President Sonia Gandhi calling for seizing the political opportunity and tying up with the Left.

“No rational mind will bet on the BJP getting more than five percent votes, the civic polls last year are an indicator of that. In 2014, BJP got nearly 17 percent of the votes at the cost of both the Congress and the Left.”

“So, with the BJP losing all its popularity and becoming insignificant, the opposition votes itself would consolidate when the Congress and the CPI-M combine,” argued Mishra, claiming that the alliance could win around 170 of Bengal’s 294 seats.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while the Trinamool secured 39.3 percent of the votes, the Left Front and the Congress had 29.5 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

In the last assembly elections in 2011, the Trinamool, then part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), had won 184 seats, the Left Front 62 seats, and the Congress 42 seats. The BJP did not win a single seat.

Mishra, a Jadavpur University professor, worked for over two months preparing the assembly segment-wise vote projections and claims an electoral arrangement with the Marxists will not impact his party’s opposition to the Left in Kerala, where elections will be held at the same time.

“The political dimensions vary from state to state. In Kerala we will compete, in Bengal we will cooperate. The Congress-Left contest in Kerala or Tripura will not reflect in our combined effort to dismantle the Mamata government,” he said.

The possibility of a Left-Congress alliance has gained ground with Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and state CPI-M secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra and Marxist Politburo member Mohammad Salim publicly advocating such a coalition.

Chowdhury, who had been earlier insisting on the Congress going it alone, is now pitching for an alliance and has flown to New Delhi to discuss the issue with the party’s central leadership.

Mishra insists the combine would sweep the Muslim-dominated Malda, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur districts – considered Congress strongholds.

“All six Lok Sabha seats in these three districts went to the Congress (four) and the CPI-M (two). If we combine, we can very well win all the 43 assembly seats in these three districts,” said Mishra, claiming Trinamool’s hobnobbing with the BJP has only furthered the disenchantment of the minorities against it.

“The disillusionment among minority voters has only been compounded with as many as four central ministers giving certificates of appreciation to the Mamata government,” said Mishra, referring to the recently-held Bengal Global Business Summit where union ministers, including Arun Jaitley, showered praise on the Banerjee administration.

“Both the Congress and the Left are well-regarded by the minorities anywhere in the country and when both these forces unite, the minorities are bound to root for them,” he said. Muslims comprise 27.1 per cent of Bengal’s population, according to the 2011 census.

The Congress has also been making efforts to reach out to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) to forge a grand alliance in the Bihar polls where old foes Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad joined hands to inflict a crushing defeat on the BJP.

Mishra said the effort will be to forge a formal alliance with a declared common minimum program, a chief ministerial candidate as well as a deputy chief ministerial nominee. (IANS)

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Shiv Sena Declares Rahul Gandhi a Threat For BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

It went on to add that ditto was the scenario with the post of President, since many had hoped that Advani at least would be catapulted to the Rashtrapati Bhavan in June 2017.

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Rahul Gandhi, Wikipedia

A day after asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to refrain from “ridiculing” Rahul Gandhi for declaring his ambition to become Prime Minister, the Shiv Sena on Friday showered praises on the Congress chief, saying “he poses a challenge to the BJP” in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“This is not the Rahul Gandhi of 2014. He is a changed person now. He has weathered abuse and criticism to emerge intellectually strong.

“He can throw up a serious challenge to the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019,” the Sena cautioned in an editorial in the party mouthpieces “Saamana” and “Dopahar Ka Saamana”.

Asserting that “Gandhi has acquired political strength and clout”, the ruling BJP ally pointed out that this was effectively demonstrated in the December 2017 Gujarat Assembly polls.

“The BJP leaders mock him in vulgar language, but Rahul Gandhi has always maintained Modi’s dignity as Prime Minister and never stooped low to criticise him ever.

“This proves that Rahul Gandhi possesses political intellect and culture, which even his opponents would concede,” the Sena added.

However, the Sena wondered why the BJP was running “so scared and indulging in chest-beating” over Gandhi’s desire to become the Prime Minister should his party won.

“Today, the BJP wants to know how — with a queue of Prime Minister aspirants among the opposition parties — could Gandhi declare himself as a contender for the top post?

"He can throw up a serious challenge to the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019," the Sena cautioned in an editorial in the party mouthpieces "Saamana" and "Dopahar Ka Saamana".
Shiv Sena supports Rahul’s ambition to become PM, IANS

“This question should be replied to by the BJP’s senior leaders like L.K. Advani or Murli Manohar Joshi and others,” the Sena said in a veiled reference to the side-lining of the party’s senior leaders under the current dispensation.

It went on to add that ditto was the scenario with the post of President, since many had hoped that Advani at least would be catapulted to the Rashtrapati Bhavan in June 2017.

But finally, Modi and BJP President Amit Shah had their way and they went ahead with their choice without consulting any of the allies and friendly parties, it said, adding how it had proposed the name of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for President.

“So, why is the BJP now demanding that Congress should consult its (UPA) allies before declaring the candidate for the Prime Minister’s post? Let the people of the country decide whether Gandhi is good for them or not,” the Sena said.

Also Read: At 7.4%, India Will be the Fastest Growing Major Economy in 2018 

The Sena advised the BJP that instead of ridiculing Gandhi, “the BJP should have welcomed his statement and countered it by throwing a challenge to the Congress that it would defeat him in the 2019 battle”.

The Sena reiterated the shabby treatment meted out by the BJP to its allies, and although it came to power with their support, the allies were rewarded “with back-stabbing, damage and destruction”.

“The people will be the final judge whether Gandhi will become the Prime Minister or be dumped. Even Modi was very nice before the (2014) elections. But later on, peoples’ pain and problems continue… The masses are reeling under it like a donkey carrying a heavy load… The only difference is, after each election, the donkey’s master changes,” the Sena concluded. (IANS)