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West Bengal: Jaitley meets Mamta over poll alliance
February 10, 2006 03:14 IST
There was a strong current against Left Front in West Bengal and the people in Kolkata wanted to free themselves from the Marxist 'misrule', Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Arun Jaitley said after meeting Trinamool Congress chief Mamta Banerjee in Kolkata Thursday.
Jaitley, BJP's election observer for the state, met Banerjee late Thursday night and discussed seat-sharing arrangements between the two parties and ways to consolidate anti-Left votes for the coming state assembly polls.
"Our efforts are to consolidate anti-Left votes in West Bengal. There is a strong groundswell against the Left Front. We are confident that a political change will take place in the polls this time," Jaitley told reporters following his nearly one-hour discussions with the Trinamool leader at the later's residence in south Kolkata.
Jaitley, who was recently made the party's observer for the West Bengal assembly polls by party president Rajnath Singh, said, "Trinamool Congress and BJP will work under the leadership of Mamta Banerjee."
He said the seat-sharing between the two parties would be clinched soon. It was up to the Congress to decide on joining the anti-Left electoral front, which would be led by Banerjee, he added.
"If the Congress wanted to liberate West Bengal from the clutches of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front, the party has to decide," he said.
The BJP leader's comment came as the Congress high command insisted that an alliance with Mamta's Trinamool Congress was possible only if it parted ways with the BJP.
Mamta, who has refused to quit the National Democratic Alliance for an alliance with the Congress, said she was still hopeful that Congress would respond to her call for a one-to-one contest against the Left Front nominees in the coming polls.
"I want a one-to-contest against the Left Front candidates, which alone can avoid opposition vote split and pave the way for ouster of Left Front from power," she said adding, "efforts would be made to hold dialogue with the Congress in that direction".