Congress will campaign jointly with Trinamool Congress: Pranab Mukherjee

March 21st, 2009 - 11:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Kolkata, March 21 (IANS) In a show of electoral harmony, senior Congress leader and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Saturday said his party would campaign jointly with the Trinamool Congress at every level to defeat the communists in the Lok Sabha elections.
“We will send directions to our workers at every level in the state to make the alliance a success by holding joint campaigns and working for the alliance partner to defeat the communists,” Mukherjee said Saturday night in a joint press conference with Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee.

“In all 28 seats where Trinamool is fighting (Socialist Unity Centre of India is contesting from one seat), our party workers will campaign and assist the party in postering and wall writing.

“We have issued direction in this regard. As per our party constitution, we can even suspend those members for six years who would not abide by the decision taken at the national level (of Congress),” Mukherjee said.

“Likewise Mamata Banerjee will ask her party workers to work for the Congress and its symbol hand.

“We believe that we would be able to make this alliance a success and the people will bless us,” Mukherjee said.

The Congress leader made the announcement after a closed-door meeting with Banerjee at a South Kolkata guest house, capping resentment of the Trinamool over non-cooperation from the Congress in the campaign.

Congress and Trinamool Congress have entered into a poll alliance for the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. While Trinamool will contest in 27 seats, Congress has fielded candidates in 14. SUCI will contest form one seat in the election.

“Myself and Mamata will have some joint programmes. In respect of Sonia Gandhi we will request her to at least address in two phases, out of the three-phases in the April-May general elections.”

“Details of her programme will be worked out later,” Mukherjee said.

“We do hope that the purpose for which we have entered this arrangement will receive the blessings of the electorate. We hope it will be reflected in the results,” he said.

“Taste of the pudding is in the eating. When the results are out everything will be clear,” he said.

Lambasting the communists, Mamata Banerjee said: “People of West Bengal wanted a change from the state-sponsored terrorism. People wanted that anti-Left votes should not be split. So we formed the alliance.”

“Even yesterday (Friday), the Congress, Trinamool Congress and SUCI held a joint press conference to protest the state budget in the West Bengal assembly.

“We have to work together to bring change in the state and put an end to the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government. Electoral malpractices are rampant and we have lodged our complaint with the Election Commission,” she said.

“Bengal is an exceptional state where there was no political change in 32 years and hence a special observer is needed to counter the CPI-M machinery.

“People should be allowed to vote freely. If voting is peaceful, the CPI-M may be out of all 42 seats,” she said.

“People here are not getting justice. People should be allowed to exercise their democratic rights. So for greater interest of the people, we are together,” she said.

“This alliance is a bad omen for the CPI-M and they have started realising it,” Banerjee said.

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