The Congress in West Bengal cautioned that the hold-up of a party leader from membership drive allegedly by Trinamool Congress activists in East Midnapore district of West Bengal could cast a shadow on relations between the two parties in the poll-bound state.
Pradesh Congress committee chief Manas Bhuiyan said that the continuance of such incidents would be a "difficult proposition" for the party. "Continuance of such incidents will be a difficult proposition for us. I hope this inflammatory situation will subside and both parties would jointly fight the Communist Party of India-Marxist in the state," said Bhuiyan in reply to a volley of questions on the incident. The PCC chief said a report on the incident, in which Trinamool Congress workers allegedly prevented their Congress counterparts to hold a rally and conduct a membership drive in East Midnapore district on Monday, has been submitted to AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi. "Rahul Gandhi has received the report but I did not discuss the matter with him," Bhuiyan said after meeting Rahul and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday.
The Congress alleged its workers, including Youth Congress secretary Usha Naidu, were prevented by Trinamool activists from holding the rally. Two cars of the Congress leaders were damaged and cases were registered against some persons by the police. Bhuiyan said he would lead a protest rally at Khejuri over the issue after July 22 and added that Rahul had directed the state unit of the party to continue the membership drive throughout the state.
"I have spoken to prominent Trinamool leaders and, if need be, will speak to (Trinamool chief) Mamata Banerjee on the incident. I do not want such incidents to recur," he said. Regarding his meeting with Sonia Gandhi, he said the Congress President asked him to "reach out to the people, strengthen the party organisation and launch movements on people's issues." Bhuiyan said both the Congress President and Rahul have been invited to address meetings in West Bengal. He said the state Congress would organise a protest meeting at Mangalkot on July 15 to protest alleged atrocities by CPI(M) against its political opponents.