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Congress MLAs to switch over to Mamata Bannerjee’s TMC? Why Rahul Gandhi has a tough task at hand in West Bengal

Fissures within Congress in West Bengal have become evident and there are reports that the state unit of the party may split soon. Amidst this crisis, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to meet top party leaders from the state today. The bone of contention remains the same. While one faction believes that it will be better for the party to go with Mamata Banerjees Trinamool Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, another group feels that such a move will only provide a boost to the BJP in the state. The meeting between Gandhi and top leaders of the state assumes political significance as the century-old party has already lost considerable ground in West Bengal which was reflected in the results of the recently concluded bypolls and panchayat polls. In the 2016 assembly election, Congress had opted for an electoral understanding with the Left led by CPI(M) and the party had won 44 seats more than its alliance partner. However, since then, BJP has gained exponentially in the state and risen as the main challenger to CM Mamatas Trinamool Congress. Pro-Mamata stance: The meeting coincided with BJP president Amit Shahs visit to the state and his mega rally in Purulia. Khan Chowdhury said he held talks with Chatterjee on the possibilities of forming a grand alliance in the state. I will submit my report to the party high command. Anti-Mamata stand: While a section of MPs and MLAs feel that aligning with the TMC would be the best way to win the maximum number of seats in 2019, state party president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and other leaders of the party, however, assert that any such move would amount to the Congress The party in West Bengal under the leadership of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has not received any intimation from the AICC to start a dialogue with the TMC, Another senior Congress MP from Bengal, Pradip Bhattacharya, said the party high command will take the final call on the matter. The Congress high-command tried to doouse the growing resentment within the party by sending AICC in-charge of West Bengal and senior Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi to the state. The TMC leadership has chosen to maintain silence on the matter. Rebel MLAs: AICC secretary and Farakka MLA Mainul Haque, who has openly expressed his willingness to join TMC, will be atttending the meeting with Rahul Gandhi. According to reports, there are four other Muslim legislators who also want to join TMC. MLAs, who are currently holding talks with the TMC, are likely to follow suit on July 21, during the mega rally of the ruling party. In the past two years, the party has lost nearly 11 of its MLAs to the TMC. Barring Manas Bhunia, who resigned as Congress MLA when he was elected as Rajya Sabha MP from TMC, the defectors didn

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