New Delhi/Kolkata: In the first phase of the Assembly polls in West Bengal, no high-profile leader of the Congress came for campaigning even as the party is contesting the elections in the state in alliance with the Left.
Sources said there has been a lack of coordination between the state’s Congress unit president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and state in-charge Jitin Prasada, as Chowdhury has been taking decisions regarding the elections and leaders from Delhi drafted for the state are not being kept in the loop.
Prasada has hence returned from Bengal and close aides say that he is miffed with the way Chowdhury is managing the election-related affairs.
The Congress is contesting on 92 seats in the state that went to the polls in the first phase on March 27 (Saturday).
Jitin Prasada and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury jointly were to spearhead the campaign in the state.
Prasada, when asked about the campaign programme of top party leaders including Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka, said “once the programme is finalised, we will inform the media”, while other leaders insisted: “Ask Adhir”.
According to sources, leaders who are on the star campaigner list are also not excited to go for campaigning as there is no positive feedback from the state.
The ruling Trinamool Congress in the state and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are in the direct contest while the Left is trying to win back its rural support, and the Congress is trying to retain its last tally of 44 in the 2016 elections.
The first sign of cracks emerged during the ticket distribution which was delayed and after many hiccups, it was finalised, but not before differences surfaced within the party.
Another concern for the Congress is that till elections in Kerala gets over, it cannot go full-throttle in West Bengal as it’s difficult for the party to praise the Left in Bengal and criticize in Kerala.
In Kerala, former party president Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the Left.
The Congress in its manifesto has assured NYAY promised monthly support of Rs 5,700 to 20 percent of the most economically backward families.
The manifesto also promised Rs 5,000 a month as interim relief to families of migrant workers till they get employment.
The Congress’ vote share had declined to 4 percent in the 2019 General Elections, but it still remains an important factor in some districts such as Puralia, Malda, and Murshidabad.
The polling in West Bengal will be held in eight phases till April 29 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2.