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Left defeat on Sonia’s mind

kolkata Updated: Apr 21, 2011 15:00 IST
Subhendu Maiti
Subhendu Maiti
Hindustan Times
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She left nothing to speculation. Her only wish is to see voters oust the CPI(M)-led Left Front government from Bengal.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Sonia Gandhi wants the Left Front to be defeated by the Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance in the assembly elections. Addressing a rally at Salar Edward Zakaria Higher Secondary School ground in Bharatpur assembly constituency on Wednesday afternoon, Gandhi gave a clear call for a stronger alliance to bring an end to the Left Front’s 34-years rule in Bengal.

Waving at the crowd of 25,000, she said, “We, along with the Trinamool, are going ahead with the development of our country. Similarly, Bengal will also advance based on the Congress and Trinamool alliance.”

The venue was selected to prove that dedicated Congress supporters can brave the heat to listen to their leader.

During her 12-minute address, Gandhi said, “I feel sad for Bengal that has been under Left rule for 34 years. The Bengal government is bankrupt with more than R2 lakh crore debt. What a sorry condition this state is in. The poor are not being given BPL cards. There is acute scarcity of drinking water in villages. With the deteriorating law-and-order situation, the CPI(M) government is sponsoring terrorism in the state.”

“The youth is jobless in Bengal. The Bengal government is indifferent to this. The Left has been ruling the state for so many years only for its gain. We have given crores of rupees to West Bengal under different plans and schemes, but what has been done with it? The Left Front government is making a fool out of the people. Don’t trust it,” said the Congress president, amid loud cheers from the crowd.

Speaking about the development of minorities in Bengal, she said that an Aligarh Muslim University campus is coming up in Murshidabad, a minority-dominated district. The policies of the UPA government, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, shows that it wants every strata of the society to progress. “The country is going ahead for progress in mass literacy, rural health, rural-urban connections, and mid-day meal schemes. Bengal is still a backward state, compared to other states in the country which are developing in all sectors,” she said.

Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said, “The Left Front has done nothing for Bengal although it has ruled the state for 34 years. It has failed to usher in rural development though crores of rupees are pumped in this state.”

AICC general secretary in-charge of Bengal Shakeel Ahmed, PCC president Manas Bhuniya, and local MP and Murshidabad district president Adhir Chowdhury were also present at the rally.

Adhir still a strongman in Murshidabad

Salar (Murshidabad): The man who is Mir Jafar to the Trinamool Congress is still the Congress strongman in Murshidabad. Sharing stage with MP Adhir Chowdhury, Congress president Sonia Gandhi was silent on his alleged anti-alliance stance.

Gandhi requested voters to support Congress and Trinamool candidates and end 34 years of left rule. Maybe encouraged by her stand, Chowdhury said, “Ami sakale dale bikele nirdale (I am for Congress in the morning and for Independents in the evening).”

Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee too refrained from saying anything against Chowdhury. This is the first time that the duo was on the same stage after poll dates were announced on February 28.

Mukherjee had slammed the MP while addressing a rally at Sagardighi on Tuesday. Seeking votes for the alliance, he had come down heavily on Chowdhury. But he was silent on Wednesday. Choosing his words with care, Mukherjee said, “We are strong in Murshidabad and probably could have avoided the tie-up. However, the alliance is necessary to remove the Left Front.”

If Chowdhury was tense, he did not betray it. “I was confident that Gandhi will not say anything against me. Murshidabad is a traditional Congress bastion. I have just conveyed the sentiment of our workers by fielding Independent candidates against Trinamool, which has no base here.”

He added, “I cannot tolerate her (Mamata) political highhandedness in our district. She is trying to browbeat us.”