Veteran Congress leaders Somen Mitra and Abdul Mannan are having a trying time to convince people in their respective constituencies as to why an alliance with the Left Front is required to oust Trinamool Congress in the election.
Both the leaders who had throughout their political career, criticised CPI(M) are now taking Left Front leaders in their campaigns. The volley of questions raised by the people regarding the alliance clearly indicates that the alliance has not gone well with the people in general particularly in semi urban and rural areas.
Abdul Mannan, the candidate representing Congress- CPI(M) alliance is contesting against the sitting MLA Muzaffar Khan. Khan who was a Congress-Trinamool alliance candidate in 2011 defeated Jibesh Chakraborty of CPI(M) by over 35,000 votes. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls when the Congress-Trinamool tie up got severed, Trinamool candidate got 54,128 votes from this segment while Left Front and Congress candidates got 39,122 votes and 23, 701 votes respectively. Interestingly, BJP got 51,695 votes from here.
Recently, Mannan along with Naren Chatterjee of the Forward Bloc had carried out a joint rally in Champdani. Old Congress voters of the area asked Mannan why he had taken Left Front workers and red flags in his rally. Mannan tried to convince them that this was the need of the hour. Then they asked who should they vote, him or Left Front candidate.
Veteran Congress leader Somen Mitra’s situation is even more embarrassing. He was found to be rallying with Ritabrata Banerjee and Rabin Deb of CPI(M).
People of Chowringhee could not digest Mitra who had fought against the CPI(M) from the early 1970s walking with Left Front leaders. “He was a Trinamool MP and now he is walking with the CPI(M). He has lost all his credibility,” said a veteran Congress voter.
Mitra’s wife Sikha was elected from Chowringhee Assembly constituency in 2011. She resigned and in 2014 a by-election was held where Nayana Bandopadhyay was elected from the seat defeating Congress candidate Santosh Pathak. BJP’s Ritesh Tewari got third position and CPI(M) got fourth position. Bandopadhyay won the election by over 13,000 votes.
For Mitra winning the election has become secondary. His primary task is now to convince people that being a hardcore Congressman why he is holding rallies with Left Front leaders and workers and why is it the need of the hour to form this alliance.