Congress begins grand alliance talks on its own in West Bengal

Trying to steal a march over ally Trinamool Congress ahead of next year`s West Bengal Assembly polls, the Congress on Monday began talks with Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind leader Siddiqulla Chowdhury.

Kolkata: Trying to steal a march over ally
Trinamool Congress ahead of next year`s West Bengal Assembly
polls, the Congress on Monday began talks with Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind
leader Siddiqulla Chowdhury in a bid to forge a `grand
alliance` against the state`s ruling Left Front.

"I had a talk with Siddiqulla this morning about a
possible anti-Left grand alliance. The talks are at a
preliminary stage," WBPCC chief Manas Bhuinya told newsmen.

Bhuinya is also meeting the chief of the CPI(M)-breakaway
Party for Democratic Socialism, Saifuddin Chowdhury, and his
senior colleague Samir Patitunda to discuss the matter.

The PCC chief said he would inform the party High Command
about the discussions in the meetings, besides Union Finance
Minister and former PCC chief Pranab Mukherjee and AICC
general secretary in charge of West Bengal K Kesava Rao. "I
cannot take any decision alone."

Asked whether he would also discuss the matter with
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Bhuinya evaded a
direct reply, saying, "When the Trinamool took the SUCI as an
electoral ally before the last Lok Sabha polls, they did not
talk to us."

Erstwhile PCC general secretary Siddiqullah was an ally
of Banerjee in the Nandigram campaign against forcible land
acquisition. Later, however, he fell out with the Trinamool
Congress chief and floated his own party People`s Democratic
Conference of India (PDCI).

PTI

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