Kolkata: Stating that the Left Front was not in a position to defeat the ruling Trinamool Congress in next year's West Bengal assembly polls, a senior CPI-M leader on Friday indicated that the Left could forge an "understanding" with the Congress to remove chief minister Mamata Banerjee from power.
"We need to go the extra mile to defeat Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. There is no reason to believe that the Left can register victory over the Trinamool on its own strength," Communist Party of India-Marxist state secretariat member and former minister Gautam Deb said at a media conference and during an interaction with a local television channel.
On the possibility of an electoral adjustment with the Congress, he said: "I can't comment on any possible seat sharing with the Congress. We have some ideological differences with that party. But please remember we have supported the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the centre for over four years.
"In West Bengal also we have participated in a number of agitation programmes with the Congress. The Left and the Congress have come together to take on the Trinamool government on the Saradha scam. There is a need for a grand alliance with like-minded political parties to defeat the TMC regime."
A section of the state Congress leadership welcomed Deb's comments. But the other LF partners did not echo Deb.
Congress leader Abdul Mannan said the current situation in the state warrants an alliance between his party and the CPI-M led LF.
LF constituent Revolutionary Socialist Party however said the comments reflect Deb's "personal views".
"Had the CPI-M state secretary made the comments, we could have considered it as the party's official statement. Left the CPI-M come out with a statement first for us to take a stand," said state RSP secretary Kshiti Goswami.
Forward Bloc leader Udayan Guha asked the CPI-M to emphatically say the nature of the grand alliance the party was looking at.