Somen Mitra leaves Congress, forms new party

July 19th, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 19 (IANS) The Congress received a jolt in West Bengal Saturday with its former state president Somen Mitra deserting the party with his loyalists and announcing the formation of a new outfit. “We need to find out a credible alternative to the state’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front. But the Congress cannot do it, as it has lost its popularity and credibility to fight the Marxists by running the central government with support from the Left,” Mitra said at a crowded media meet here.

The new party is christened Pragatisheel (Progressive) Indira Congress.

Describing Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee as the epicentre of the fight against the CPI-M, Mitra said: “Our aim is to oust the CPI-M from power in the state. Mamata is the main force in the struggle. My party would form an alliance with the Trinamool.”

“I am not in the race for the chief minister’s post. We will strengthen the hands of Mamata,” said Mitra, who held a series of meetings with the Trinamool chief over the last one month in the run-up to Saturday’s announcement.

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