‘Against core ideology’: Anand Sharma on Cong pact with Abbas Siddiqui’s party
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma, a member of the party’s ‘G23’ group of dissenters, on Monday questioned its decision to ally with the recently-formed Indian Secular Front (ISF) for the upcoming West Bengal assembly elections. Sharma also labelled as ‘painful and shameful,’ the presence of state Congress chief, currently Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, at a joint rally with the Left and ISF at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground.
“Congress’ alliance with parties like ISF and other such forces militates against the core ideology of the party and Gandhian and Nehruvian secularism, which forms the soul of the party. These issues need to be approved by the Congress Working Committee (CWC),” the former Union minister tweeted.
He further posted, “Congress cannot be selective in fighting communalists but must do so in all its manifestations, irrespective of religion and colour. The presence and endorsement West Bengal PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) is painful and shameful, he must clarify.”
Chowdhury, who is also the Lok Sabha MP from Bengal’s Behrampore constituency, was present as the Congress-Left-ISF front launched its campaign for the forthcoming assembly elections with a mega rally at the famous Brigade Parade Ground, on Sunday. The ISF was formed last month by cleric Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui, who later joined the Congress-Left alliance in the poll-bound eastern state.
Sharma, on the other hand, was in Jammu on Saturday, along with seven other members of the ‘G23,’ including veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, whose term as Rajya Sabha MP came to an end on February 15.
West Bengal is being seen as a contest primarily between the ruling Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Banerjee is aiming at a third consecutive term as chief minister, having earlier won in 2011 and 2016. The BJP, meanwhile, is looking to form its maiden government in the state.
Assembly elections in West Bengal will take place across eight phases, from March 27 to April 29 for its 294 assembly constituencies. Counting of votes and declaration of results is scheduled for May 2.