Trinamool leader Mamata Bannerjee recently wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi suggesting a joint campaign against the Left Front on pro-people issues like the problems of farmers, the establishment of special economic zones and the blood bank scandal that poses a threat to lives.
On November 1, the Congress president replied to Mamata's lengthy letter, advising her to confer with Margaret Alva, AICC general secretary in charge of West Bengal. Mamata and Alva would discuss the matter ahead of Parliament's Winter Session starting November 22.
There is no word from the Congress whether it would accept Mamata's proposal of a joint campaign to target the Left Front, which extends outside support to the Manmohan Singh government at the Centre. But Sonia's party is unlikely to take up on the offer so long as the Trinamool remains a part of the NDA grouping. However, it is expected to keep a channel of communication open with Mamata in the hope that sooner or later, she might quit the saffron camp.
Even otherwise, the Congress-Trinamool dialogue would help both sides send a signal to their respective allies----the Trinamool to the BJP-NDA and the Congress to the Left that has been attacking its policies at the Centre.
The stage of a continuing dialogue between the two parties was set when they did not field candidates against each other in the by-elections in West Bengal in September. Later, the Congress' Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) came out in support of Mamata's campaign against the state government's decision to allot prime agricultural land for a motorcar project.
The PCC however has been without a president since Pranab Mukherjee resigned in May owning moral responsibility for the party's defeat in the Assembly elections. Though Pradeep Bhattacharjee is the working president, Mukherjee's vacancy has intensified factionalism, with a growing number of aspirants looking for a place in the PCC, including the president's post.
To accommodate its workers, the party is examining the proposal that like Mumbai, Kolkata too could have a separate Regional Congress Committee. While this committee would focus on the party's growth in the metropolis, the West Bengal PCC could concentrate on strengthening the organisation in other parts of the state. This as well as some other suggestions made by the state leaders in their interaction with Alva have been forwarded to the Congress president for her decision.