State Cong miffed with high command's bonhomie with TMC, fears loss of support base

Kolkata
19 May 2017

The Congress in West Bengal is miffed with the party high command for not giving importance to their views.
The Bengal unit is also of the opinion that the recent bonhomie between the Congress leadership and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee will put the party's political existence at stake in the state, which has been bleeding hard due to repeated poll setbacks and defections to the TMC. The meeting between Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mamata in New Delhi on May 16 to discuss a strategy for the upcoming Presidential polls, has irked the state Congress leadership, which feels any kind of bonhomie with TMC is fatal for the state unit as it is fighting hard to keep its flock together from the "poaching policy" of the TMC. They Bengal unit of the Congress also feels that BJP will milk the issue and eat into Congress votes in the state.
"Although the meeting was regarding the Presidential elections, yet it is a matter of concern as party workers and leaders are asking several questions and we don't have any proper answer. At a time when the TMC is trying to finish off Congress in the state either by use of violence or poaching on our elected representatives, a meeting with our top leadership with the TMC is sending out a wrong message," former Congress MP and senior leader Deepa Dasmunsi told news agency PTI. "It is tough to convince party workers who were beaten up by TMC goons on the local bodies polling day, that there has been no compromise," she said. State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury had shot off a letter to Sonia Gandhi on May 13 urging her not to allow any equation of national politics hamper the prospects of the party in the state. Chowdhury felt the Congress workers were "miffed" and "it was destiny of the Bengal Congress to suffer due to equations of national politics".
"Yes, there are lots of apprehensions and questions among the grassroots workers, who despite all sorts of threat and intimidation by TMC, has been carrying the party flag. We are trying to answer those queries, but we are not sure whether we can convince them. Congress in Bengal has been suffering for a long time due to equations of national politics," Chowdhury told news agency PTI.
"In 2004, Congress vote bank got eroded and TMC benefitted when it was decided that we will take the Left's support to form a government at the Centre. Now, due to this (meeting), BJP is trying to squeeze benefit," he said.