Smaller constituents of the opposition grand alliance in Bengal plan to bring the likes of Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav to campaign in Bengal, not only for their respective parties but also for the Congress and Left Front. If successful, this campaign season will see Congress, Left, RJD and JDU leaders sharing a platform in a Bihar-like situation.
JDU state president Amitava Dutta is scheduled to meet Left Front chairperson Biman Bose on Tuesday and Congress stalwart Somen Mitra on the issue. RJD state president Binda Ray too stated that Lalu Yadav and other leaders from Bihar are keen to campaign in Bengal.
During Bihar Assembly polls, Congress, RJD and JDU combined to thwart BJP. CPI(M) was not part of the alliance in Bihar. However, in Bengal Left Front is part of the alliance against Mamata Banerjee on the one side and BJP on the other.
“It is impractical that Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav will be here to campaign for just one or two seats. We want them to campaign all over the state for Congress and the Left. They will have a good impact on Hindi-speaking voters of Bengal,” said Dutta, JDU state president who is contesting from Howrah central seat, supported by Congress and Left.
JDU is part of the grand alliance where Congress Left Front and RJD are present. JDU is contesting in Islampur, apart from Howrah central. In 2011, JDU placed candidates in 71 seats and won in 1 (Bhagabangola).
“Lalu Prasad will come. We are trying to bring in a host of other leaders. We want them to campaign for Left Front and Congress candidates too. Here as a part of the alliance we will be fighting against Trinamool Congress and BJP,” said Binda Ray. RJD is contesting from two seats, Jorasanko and Bhatpara as a part of the alliance. RJD won the Burrabazar Assembly seat in 2006 as a Left Front partner.
State Congress leaders welcomed the move. “It will be beneficial and good that political stalwarts like Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar will be here to campaign for the alliance,” said Pradip Bhattacharya, Congress Rajya Sabha MP and chairman of campaign committee of the party in Bengal.
RJD and JDU state leaders recently met with state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury. The PCC chief told them to take up the alliance issue with their respective party heads. After getting the green light, both parties joined the grand alliance.
“Why would the Congress object to leaders like Lalu Prasad campaigning in Bengal,” said Abdul Mannan, senior state Congress leader.