Lalu vs Mamata in Bengal polls?
The Left Front is pitching for an active role for Rashtriya Janta Dal chief Lalu Prasad in next month's assembly elections in West Bengal, while accusing Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee of having made the Railways "bankrupt". HT reports.delhi Updated: Apr 20, 2011 14:28 IST
The Left Front is pitching for an active role for Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad in next month's assembly elections in West Bengal, while accusing Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee of having made the Railways "bankrupt".
As part of the electoral alliance, the Left Front has spared Kolkata's Chowrangee assembly seat for Prasad's party.
"Prasad can have a larger role, since he is the one credited to have brought about the railways turnaround. We are in talks with him to discuss the possibility of having him as one of our principal campaigners in the elections", a senior CPM leader said.
"Banerjee's alleged mishandling of the railways" has been chosen as one of the CPM's campaign themes.
The party will shortly publish a "white paper" on Banerjee's alleged role in "ruining" railways finances.
Confirming Prasad would be touring Kolkata to campaign for the party candidate, RJD sources said it was possible that Prasad would have a more intense tour program in Bengal.
The Bengal polls also mark a patch-up in the Left-RJD ties, which had been severed in last year's elections in Bihar.
In the 2006 elections in Bengal, the RJD had contested two assembly seats in alliance with the Left Front and won one.
In 294 member Bengal assembly, the RJD, however, does not have representation currently, as its lone legislator Mohamed Sohrab had quit the party and joined the Janata Dal (U).
After having remained severely critical of the handling of the railways ministry by Banerjee in 2009, Prasad was perceived as having become milder during the past few months.
After the battering in the assembly elections ion Bihar, Prasad appears to have lost some of his earlier bravado.
Next month's elections in Bengal offer him an opportunity to regain some of his lost confidence.