Jalpaiguri: Congress is serious about forging an alliance with Trinamool Congress for the West Bengal assembly elections but this will be on honourable terms and "we cannot bow our head", AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi asserted today.
"We can extend our hand to Trinamool Congress, but we cannot bow our head. (Hum hath bara sakte hai, lekin sir jhuka nahin sakte)," Gandhi was quoted as saying by a Youth Congress leader who was present at a closed-door meeting here.
Gandhi said the Congress was serious about forging an alliance with the Trinamool Congress before the coming assembly elections to end the Left rule in the state.
"You have to strengthen Congress so that it can be a determining factor in the assembly elections in the state scheduled next year," he said.
Addressing the Youth Congress workers in this North Bengal town on the second day of his three-day visit in West Bengal, he asked them to strenghten the party for an all-out fight against the CPI-M.
"Change is a must and the change is coming after the assembly elections," Gandhi told the gathering.
Gandhi, keen that Congress makes inroads in the Left bastion, held out the assurance that the party would be made movement-oriented in the state and, among other issues, look into the problems faced by tribals in the area.
Gandhi didn`t appear worried over some disgruntled Congress leaders joining the Trinamool Congress in the run up to the assembly elections.
"Let them join," he said when asked by YC workers about the desertions.
Repeating the charges he had made earlier during his last visit to the state on September five, Gandhi said that there existed two Bengals.
One for the CPI-M in which the cadres could do anything they want and another for the poor where there was no food and shelter.
Earlier in an interaction with tribals in a sprawling ground in the Jalpaiguri town, he asked those gathered to narrate their problems.
When he was told that the daily wage workers were not getting the Rs 100 per day`s work under the Nehru Rojgar Yogana scheme, Gandhi asked his secretary to contact the Jalpaiguri district magistrate to know the actual picture.