As West Bengal prepares for its third round of polling, the Congress is feeling the heat of lack of star campaigners in the state so far, with the only exception being Jitin Prasada who is also the state in-charge.
Congress candidates are struggling to find leaders to campaign for them in the high-pitch fight. Prasada is criss-crossing the state as the party did not have much resources at its disposal and struggling for leaders to to come and canvass in the state. The only big names from Delhi coming to campaign were Salman Khurshid and Jaiveer Shergill. The other person who is holding the fort is party leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Prasada, who was on way to Falta, told IANS that “my job is to oversee and manage the elections and I am camping in the state travelling at least 500 km a day”.
Asked why no big leaders came for campaigning, he said: “Soon a battery of leaders will descend to West Bengal and the Congress alliance is getting good response in the state.”
Congress insiders say that lack of positive feedback is stopping leaders from coming to the state. While the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are in direct contest, the Left is trying to win back its rural support, and the Congress is trying to retain its last tally of 44 in 2016 elections. The Congress’ vote share had declined to 4 per cent in the 2019 General Elections, but it still remains an important factor in some districts such as Purulia, Malda and Murshidabad.
Congress leaders also say for the party, it was a problem to join the dais with the Left in the states till elections in Kerala get over. Congress cannot go full throttle in West Bengal as it is difficult for the party to praise the Left in Bengal and criticise it in Kerala.
In Kerala, former party president Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the Left.
Polling in West Bengal will be held in eight phases till April 29 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2.