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Bengal Congress Leader Urges Sonia Gandhi to Offer Bypoll Support to TMC in Kharagpur to Stop BJP

On October 25, the Election Commission had announced that the by-elections in West Bengal for vacant Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur, Kharagpur Sadar in West Midnapore, and Karimpur assembly seats in Nadia district will be held on November 25.

Kolkata: In a significant political development, senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan wrote a letter to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi expressing party’s weak position in Kharagpur and suggested that only way to stop BJP in the coming Bypolls is to support the ruling TMC in West Bengal.

On October 25, the Election Commission (EC) had announced that the by-elections in West Bengal for vacant Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur, Kharagpur Sadar in West Midnapore, and Karimpur assembly seats in Nadia district will be held on November 25.

Manna’s letter to Sonia Gandhi, which is in possession of News18, reads, “Respected Sonia ji, the Election Commission announced that the by-elections of three Assembly segments in West Bengal, including Kaliaganj, Karimpur and Kharagpur Sadar, would be held on November 25, 2019. I would like to inform you that I had discussed primarily with Left Front leadership regarding Kaliaganj seat and the Left Front leadership agreed to support Congress candidate at Kaliaganj to prevent BJP. And in Karimpur seat, where the Left Front is much stronger than us, we would support the Left Front candidate to prevent BJP (sic).”

It further reads, “I would like to inform you further that at this moment our organisational capacity is very poor at Kharagpur due to defection of a large number of Congress workers and leaders after the demise of our beloved veteran MLA (10 times) and leader Shri Gyan Singh Sohanpal. Therefore, in this situation, I would suggest that to prevent BJP we should support TMC candidate at Kharagpur Sadar Assembly seats. Now, it is up to you, whatever decision you would take I must abide by your direction (sic).”

When contacted, Mannan said, “It is the party’s internal matter and I don’t want to say much on this. I had told everything to Sonia Gandhi-ji regarding the bypolls issue and now it is up to her to take the call.”

Mannan said he met Sonia Gandhi before the announcement of bypoll date and told her about his opinion regarding changes required in the party. “I met Sonia-ji twice in a single day on October 10 around 10.30am and told whatever I felt was right for the party. There is nothing to hide anything. She took a note of my views.”

The Kaliaganj seat fell vacant following the death of sitting Congress MLA Parmatha Nath Ray on May 31. The Kharagpur Sadar and Karimpur seats fell vacant after sitting BJP MLA Dilip Ghosh and sitting TMC MLA Mahua Moitra won the parliamentary polls from Midnapore and Krishnnanagar Lok Sabha seats, respectively.

The last date of filing nomination is November 6 and the counting of votes will take place on November 28. The Election Commission has decided to use EVMs and VVPATs in all polling stations.

The by-elections will be significant as the beleaguered Congress and Left Front both have decided to go for a seat adjustment.

West Bengal Congress President Somendra Nath Mitra had earlier said, “We had a meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi-ji in New Delhi and we got a green signal for the seat adjustment with the Left. We felt that this seat adjustment is necessary to stop the ruling TMC and BJP from making further headway. As of now it has been decided that Congress would contest Kaliaganj seat in North Dinajpur district and Kharagpur in West Midnapore district. The Left has decided to contest the Karimpur assembly seat in the Nadia district.”

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