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Congress to announce its alliance partner in Bengal

Business Standard 

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Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has summoned party leaders in West Bengal to Delhi for a brainstorming session on February 1. The meeting will be significant because a decision on whether the party will fight the upcoming Assembly elections in an alliance with any other political force will be taken after the meeting.

This comes days after senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Surya Kant Mishra asked the Congress to spell out its stand on the Trinamool Congress (TMC), while expressing their own willingness to join hands with the grand old party for the Bengal elections.

"I don't know if the CPI(M) has formally approached the Congress' central leadership (for an alliance). But, there is a sentiment among leaders here about forming an alliance to stop the violence unleashed by the ruling party," Congress' state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told local media. He also brushed aside newspaper reports that Gandhi was keen on an alliance with the TMC and that the latter had hinted so when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited Delhi recently. "That (meeting) was out of courtesy. How can you infer the exchange of normal pleasantries as talks of an alliance? This is media speculation," he said.

Besides Chowdhury, other leaders from the state expected to meet Gandhi in Delhi are Somen Mitra, Om Prakash Mishra, Pradeep Bhattacharya, Deepa Dasmunshi and Manas Bhuniya.

First Published: Sun, January 31 2016. 23:15 IST