Monday, November 29, 1999

Cong to contest Durgapur Assembly by-poll with TC support

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Kolkata, Jun 16 (PTI) After the bitter acrimony between the two UPA allies during the civic election in West Bengal, Congress today named its candidate for an Assembly by-poll in the state with Trinamool Congress support. The move comes after TC supremo Mamata Banerjee recently offered to support a Congress candidate in the seat virtually leaving the door open for an alliance in the next Assembly election in the state. "We will be contesting the (July 5) Durgapur-I Assembly by-poll with TC support," PCC working president Pradip Bhattacherjee told PTI here. He said PCC had sent four names to AICC and the state Congress chief Pranab Mukherjee had informed him over phone today that the name of Bangsi Badan Karmakar, a trade union leader in the Durgapur industrial belt, has been finalised. "Though the seat is still considered a Left stronghold, the political scenario in Bengal has changed and we are confident of putting up a good fight there with TC support," Bhattacherjee said. Congress took the decision to contest the seat after Banerjee made the offer to Mukherjee to support a Congress candidate in the seat during a recent meeting between the two leaders. The seat fell vacant after the death of the sitting CPI-M MLA and former state power minister Mrinal Banerjee. Karmakar had secured the second position. TC, then in NDA, had left the seat to its alliance partner BJP which had come third. Durgapur has been with the Left since 1977. In the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, Congress had contested the Burdwan-Durgapur constituency, of which Durgapur assembly segment is a part, and had lost to CPI(M).

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