ven as two phases of eight phase election in West Bengal are already over, senior Congress leaders are visibly absent from the campaigning in the state. Now, according to a report by CNN News 18, the reason is that, no senior leader wants to campaign in the state.
Reportedly, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have decided to concentrate on campaigning in Kerala at present, and may campaign in Bengal after the elections are over in the southern state. The Congress party, which is playing the role of a third front in West Bengal in alliance with left parties and ISF, does not see much prospect which has turned into a direct fight between ruling TMC and BJP. As a result, the central leaders of the party do not want to waste their time effort in a losing election.
The Congress party see TMC as an ally to combat BJP at the national level, therefore it is not too willing to upset that equation by offering a strong contest to the Mamata Banerjee led party in the state, which is already facing a tough contest from BJP. Therefore, even though state leaders like Adhir Ranjan Choudhury have been speaking against the CM and TMC, others in the party have refrained from making any comments against Mamata Banerjee and TMC.
The party is giving a contradictory signal on its position on TMC. While the state leadership has been openly criticising CM Mamata Banerjee, the central leadership has not criticised her openly. The party has cordial relation with the CM, and hence they are avoiding attacking her directly. Even though the party has upset Mamata Banerjee to some extent by allying with the left front in Bengal, they don’t want to upset her further by actively campaigning against her.
It is also being speculated that senior leaders of the Congress party do not want to be seen with the Islamic cleric Abbas Siddiqui led Indian Secular Front, the party’s ally in Bengal. Yesterday ISF chief Abbas Siddiqui had commented on the issue, saying that it is sad and unfortunate that the Congress party has been missing in the election campaign in the state so far. According to reports, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury has also refused to share the stage with Siddiqui, as he is not happy with the Islamic party.
It may be noted several allies of the Congress party in other states have decided to campaign against the party in support of TMC in West Bengal. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), allies of the Congress party in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Bihar, have snubbed the party to campaign for TMC in the state.