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'We drove out an evil force called Left'

May 18, 2009 08:23 IST
Senior Congress leader and Member of the Legislative Assembly in West Bengal Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury is a happy man. Months of relentless hard work have paid off and the Congress-Trinamool Congress alliance in Bengal has shaken the Left Front bastion to its roots.

"Along with the Trinamool Congress, we achieved our dream," he told rediff.com

"The results stand for the victory of the people. No party has won as such. Popular verdict has won against 32 years of Left misrule," Choudhury added.

In a conversation with rediff.com's Indrani Roy Mitra, Choudhury spoke about his party's game-plan for the 2011 state assembly election, Mamata Banerjee as a leader, the Congress's plan to counter the global meltdown and other issues.

At approximately 10 am on Saturday, you predicted a landslide victory for the Congress-Trinamool alliance. That is exactly what happened.

(Laughs). It was bound to happen. The writing was on the wall. As I told you earlier, it is impossible to fool the people for long. In a democracy, a party often tends to forget the might of the popular verdict.

For years, the Left Front has been hoodwinking the people. They had to pay the price.

What made you so confident? Was it the Congress-Trinamool alliance?

Yes, to some extent. If you dissect the results, you will realise it is the alliance that pulled off such a convincing win.

Moreover, the Congress and the Trinamool are two like-minded parties which got united this time to drive out an evil force called the Left. This unified determination paid rich dividends. You can look at this win as the victory of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

This election is the first of its kind that saw Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi campaigning extensively across the state. People understood our sincerity. They loved our devotion and respect for each other.

We are also grateful to the Centre for lending us the much-required security cover so that a free and fair election could be held, perhaps for the first time, in this state known for Left-orchestrated 'scientific rigging'.

You belonged to the Trinamool Congress once. You quit the party over ideological differences and joined the Congress. Now, you would have to walk in tandem with your old friends. Won't it be difficult for you?

In politics, there are no permanent enemies. The political map of Bengal has undergone a sea change. If the Trinamool Congress can bury its differences with the Congress, why can't I put my past experience behind?

What matters now is that the Left's existence has been shaken to the core and I couldn't have been happier.

What to you think of Mamata Banerjee as a leader? We heard you had some ego tussle with her which made you leave the Trinamool Congress...

(Smiles). I haven't worked with her for many years now. I have devoted my time and energy all these years in building the Congress party in Bengal.

I am more at ease answering questions like how is (Congress leader) Pranab Mukherjee as a leader.

You are being diplomatic...

No, I am being honest. In politics, as in real life, people change. Let's see.

Even though the Trinamool-Congress alliance has won comfortably, won't the road ahead be a tough one for the alliance?

Of course. People of this state have suffered for long. Hence, their patience level is very low at the moment. We have to act double quick to improve the state of life in Bengal.

We have no time to take it easy. We have to work very hard to prove ourselves. People have shown their faith in us. We cannot play with their sentiments.

Do you, as a joint force, have any specific gameplan?

We have to start from scratch to erase the misdeeds of the Left Front. Be it agriculture, industry, education, health and infrastructure, we have to dissect each sector, analyse what needs to be done and act accordingly.

It has been heard that Mamata Banerjee will appeal to the Centre to dismiss the state government and ask for an early assembly election. Is this true?

We have not heard anything as yet on those lines. Everything has to be done through a democratic process. No arbitrary decision can be taken.

How does your alliance plan to counter the economic meltdown?

Dr Manmohan Singh is a great economist, an astute politician -- a man of steely resolve. I am sure his leadership will help us tide over the crisis.