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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Rahul Gandhi meets Sitaram Yechury, may have discussed Lok Sabha election strategy for West Bengal

Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury met at Parliament house, fuelling speculations of a seat adjustment between the Congress and CPI(M) in West Bengal, where their parties are increasingly being sidelined.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Feb 05, 2019 23:17 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi personally called Mamata Banerjee during her protests against the BJP after CBI officials tried to arrest the Kolkata police commissioner.
Rahul Gandhi personally called Mamata Banerjee during her protests against the BJP after CBI officials tried to arrest the Kolkata police commissioner. (PTI Photo)
         

Even as the Congress stood in support of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in her protest against the Centre over the CBI’s efforts to arrest the Kolkata police commissioner, party president Rahul Gandhi is believed to have informally discussed its strategy for the Lok Sabha polls with CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

West Bengal sends 42 representatives to Parliament, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi and Yechury met at Parliament house, fuelling speculations of a seat adjustment between the two in West Bengal, where their parties are increasingly being sidelined.

Gandhi personally called Banerjee during her protests against the BJP after CBI officials tried to arrest Kolkata’s top cop. In Parliament too, senior Congress leaders slammed the BJP and stood with the Trinamool Congress, Banerjee’s party.

Yechury claimed that he went to Parliament’s Central Hall after a long gap and accidentally met Gandhi. According to Congress functionaries, Yechury and Gandhi also sat at the latter’s office in Parliament and discussed a wide range of issues.

“We spoke about a lot of issues including politics and the situation in West Bengal,” Yechury said. According to the Congress functionaries , the two leaders briefly touched upon the subject of a pact — something short of an alliance — in West Bengal.

Gandhi conveyed to Yechury that he would wait for his state unit’s report and assessment before taking any decision. Yechury told Ganhdi that CPIM’s Bengal unit has also started its meeting to evaluate the ground situation and that he too, would wait for its report.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, the Congress and the CPI(M) opted for an informal, local-level understanding in the election. This time, the two are looking at the possibility of a seat adjustment as any full-fledged alliance with the Congress has been ruled out by the last CPI(M) Party Congress.

“The polarisation between the Trinamool and BJP had started long ago while the CPI(M) remained in a mode of denial. Now the solution can’t be an alliance, Left needs to do something more than adjusting seats with the Congress to resurrect itself in Bengal,” said economist Prasenjit Bose.

First Published: Feb 05, 2019 23:17 IST

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