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Featured Image: File photo of Jairam Ramesh. 

By A Newsmen

Siliguri, 16 August: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has ruled out the possibility of a Congress – CPI-M alliance for the West Bengal Assembly election due next year.

Mr Ramesh Sunday took part in a seminar on autonomy of local self-government organised by the Left ruled Siliguri Municipal Corporation at Sinclairs hotel in Siliguri.

After the event, asked by journalists whether the Congress could form an alliance with CPI-M to take on the Trinammol Congress in the next Bengal Assembly election, Mr Ramesh replied in the negative.

“Congress is an independent party and a major political force throughout the country. In states such as West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and UP we want to fight our way back to power on our strengths,” the former Union minister said.

Mr Ramesh however, did not miss out on a chance to criticise the Mamata Banerjee government. “Mamata Banerjee recently met the Prime Minister in Delhi to seek more powers and fund for Bengal. But back home she is not willing to share the powers with the gram panchayats and municipalities.”

Referring to the recurrent violence in the state, he said: “Bengal is witnessing more violence than any other states in the country. This menace should be dealt with democratically and there’s a need for dialogue amongst all concerned.”

Mr Ramesh, who as a minister of state for commerce and industry in UPA-I had dealt with the problems faced by the tea industry in north Bengal, alleged that “neither Modi nor Mamata are serious about addressing the frequent closure of tea gardens.”

Former Bengal finance minister Asim Dasgupta, Congress leader and noted advocate Arunava Ghosh also participated in the seminar that was boycotted by the Trinamool councillors of SMC alleging that it was a ploy to malign the state government.

Mr Dasgupta alleged that Trinamool government was discriminating against the Left ruled panchayats and urban bodies. “All the local self-government institutions in the state are under attack; elections to them are not being held in time. Besides, there’s discrimination in the release of funds between Trinamool and opposition ruled civic bodies.

Siliguri Mayor Asok Bhattacharya alleged that the Trinamool was forcibly capturing power at several local bodies in the state.

Earlier in the day, he told reporters that the CPI-M would move court against the DC traffic police of Siliguri for “inaction” and “speaking in Trinamool’s voice” over the attack on a CPI-M rally at Matigara on Saturday.

Trinamool leader and north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb refuted the charge of TMC attack and said that “Asok Bhattacharya is getting into theatrics.”