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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Congress, CPI(M) cosy up to Ganguly now

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, December 15, 2013
First Published: 22:34 IST(15/12/2013) | Last Updated: 22:39 IST(15/12/2013)

A day after Sourav Ganguly rejected BJP’s offer to fight elections on a party ticket, Bengal Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya visited the former Team India captain’s house in Kolkata on Sunday.
 
Even though Bhattacharya said it was nothing but a courtesy visit, speculations are rife that the Congress is trying to rope in the Bengal sports icon ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
“I know Sourav for a long time, and it was only a courtesy visit. I’m aware the BJP has given him an offer, but today’s meeting had nothing to do with it,” said Bhattacharya, whose party is on the back foot in Bengal after parting ways with the ruling Trinamool Congress.
 
Bhattacharya’s visit came on a day when CPI(M) politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechuri said he was hopeful of Ganguly joining the Left party. 
 
“He seemed to be a leftist. I hope if he ever decides to join politics he would be with the Left,” Yechuri said on Sunday.
 
Ganguly had campaigned for former CPI(M) minister Ashok Bhattacharya ahead of the 2011 assembly elections, which saw the Trinamool Congress routing the Lefts to come to power.
 
Ganguly has also maintained a cordial relationship with chief minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee.
 
A section of Congress leaders feels Ganguly’s introduction will be a shot in the arm for the party, which fought the 2011 elections alongside the Trinamool but later decided to go it alone.
 
“Many Congress leaders are joining the Trinamool. Ganguly’s introduction will be a morale booster in such tough times,” a senior party leader said.
 
However, Ganguly, while talking to reporters a day ago on the BJP’s offer to contest polls, said it was not something he was considering and that his job ‘is in the field’.

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