Will sack rebel Bengal Congressmen: Pranab

April 3rd, 2011 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee Kolkata, April 3 (IANS) Cautioning rebel activists of the West Bengal unit of the Congress party, union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Sunday said nobody should think that getting a party ticket for contesting the April-May assembly polls was his birthright.

“Where ever rebel Congress leaders are contesting against our officially nominated Congress candidates or against the officially nominated alliance candidates, steps will be taken. According to the constitution of the Congress party, these rebel Congress men who don’t respect party’s decision can be expelled for six years,” Mukherjee said while releasing the party manifesto for the elections at the state Congress headquarters here.

“What we can do is that we can expel them but we cannot stop any individual after going out of the party from contesting, according to the constitution of India,” he said.

Many voices of dissent were heard in the state after Congress high command bowed to alliance partner Trinamool Congress and accepted to contest only on the 65 seats given to it.

A few sitting legislators and senior party leaders were also denied party tickets.

“Those who have broken party’s discipline will be expelled from the party for six years. And for this, no disciplinary committee is needed. The West Bengal Pradesh Congress President has this power of expelling the rebels. We can wait till the last day of withdrawal of nominations, after that we can take action,” said Mukherjee.

“Nobody can think that getting a party ticket is his or her birth right. It is for the party to decide. During 1989 Lok Sabha election, I wanted to contest but I did not get the nomination because party directed me to work for the election. I accepted it because I was a party worker. Everybody has to accept party’s decision,” he said.

Out of the 294 assembly seats in the state, Trinamool will contest on 226 seats. Smaller partners such as Socialist Unity Centre of India-Communist (SUCI-C) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will fight in two and one seats respectively.

However SUCI-C has decided to field candidates against Congress in various seats across the state.

Mukherjee said that Congress leadership has conveyed their reservations to Trinamool about SUCI-C fielding candidates against them.

He also added that he will hold discussions with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee regarding campaigning together.

Mukherjee asserted that Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and general secretary Rahul Gandhi will campaign in the state.

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