In West Bengal, a joint rally of the Congress and the main opposition Trinamool Congress has been cancelled. It was not clear whether this was done on the directions of leaders in Kolkata or New Delhi. Both Gandhi and TC chief Mamata Banerjee were scheduled to address the rally on Friday at Barrackpore near Kolkata in support of TC candidate Dinesh Trivedi.
Partha Chatterjee, the leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, said that all the TC-Congress joint rallies, where Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to address, had been called off. He, however, added "it was their (Congress) decision, we have nothing to do with that".
Incidentally, in the third and final round of polls in the state, all the remaining 11 seats would be fought by the TC and its ally, the Socialist Unity Centre of India.
Subrata Mukherjee, the working president of state Congress unit, endorsed Chatterjee's view saying that the decision to cancel Gandhi's programme was taken in New Delhi by the Congress high command.
The chances of the Congress-led alliance falling short of the magic figure (272) in the number game has already raised speculation over a possible rapprochement between the Congress and the Left. Though the Left leaders, mostly Communist Party of India General Secretary Prakash Karat, has been repeatedly ruling out any such move, tentative approaches continue to be made by the Congress leaders during the election campaign.
While interacting with reporters in Delhi a few days ago, Rahul Gandhi said that if the Congress were in a position to form the government after the polls, he would expect the Left to support them.
Banerjee's instant reaction was, "Our position is clear. If the Congress joins hands with the CPI-M or the Left after the polls, we cannot continue to be with them (Congress). There is no question of coexistence for us and the CPI-M."