Kolkata, April 27: As publicised, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and veteran communist leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee shared the dais during a joint election rally in Kolkata on Wednesday. This comes just ahead of the fifth and penultimate phase of the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2016 that is scheduled for Saturday. The camaraderie is so much so that Gandhi was seen guiding the veteran on the stage before they took their respective seats on the dais.
This is the first time arch-rivals Congress and Left Front have joined hands to fight against the ruling Trinamool Congress. The fight between the Left Front and Congress, which is still seen in Kerala, has been a traditional one and has been continuing since the days of the doyen of Indian communism and former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu.
It may be recalled that the 72-year-old Bhattacharjee — CPM’s tallest leader in the state and former chief minister of West Bengal — hit the streets to campaign for the Left Front for the first time last week following the party’s landslide defeat in 2011, marking the end of a 34-year rule in West Bengal. Bhattacharjee was among the 26 ministers who lost in the 2011 assembly polls. (ALSO READ: West Bengal Assembly Elections 2016: Rahul Gandhi to share dais with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee)
The rally organised at centrally located Park Circus Maidan is widely being considered as the testimony of reports that the alliance was a brainchild of Bhattacharjee and chief ministerial candidate Surjya Kanta Mishra.
Another top CPI(M) leader Biman Bose has not been witnessed in any of the rallies with Congress leaders. Before the two sides came out clear with their understanding, Bose had ruled out joint rallies. “How can the hammer-and-sickle and palm symbols share same space? The CPM-Congress has come to an understanding only to oust Trinamool Congress government,” Bose was quoted as saying in local media.
However, it may be pointed out that Congress was an ally of the Trinamool in 2011 Assembly Elections which dethroned the Leftists from Bengal.