'Tripura Congress heading for split'

Agartala, Sep 3 (IANS) The main opposition Congress is heading for another split with some top Tripura leaders expressing their keenness to join the Trinamool Congress, a dissident party leader said here Tuesday.

Congress leaders Surajit Datta, Ratan Chakraborty and Jawar Saha, all former ministers, are scheduled to meet Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata Thursday, the leader said.

"We would meet Mamatadi Sep 5 to discuss about our joining the Trinamool. A large number of Congress members, Surajit Datta and Ratan Chakraborty are keen to join the party," Saha told reporters.

Saha, former leader of opposition in Tripura, said: "The Congress leaders have miserably failed to counter the ruling CPI-M both in elections and in the post-poll situation."

"The state Congress leaders are busy protecting their own interest and not that of the party or workers," Saha added.

State Congress president Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, working president Asish Saha and leader of opposition Sudip Roy Burman tried to downplay the disgruntled Congress leaders' reported keenness to join the Trinamool.

"When they lose elections or lose party posts, then the Congress party becomes bad (for them)," Hrangkhawl said, without naming the dissident leaders, while addressing party workers at Town Hall here.

Former Congress legislator Subal Bhowmik, who lost to a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) nominee in Sonamura constituency in West Tripura in the Feb 14 assembly elections, left the Congress and floated the Tripura Pragatishil Gramin Congress recently. A large number of Congress members joined the new party.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in June appointed tribal leader Hrangkhawl to head the party in the state, while Saha was chosen as the party's working president. Both Hrangkhawl and Saha are legislators.

The Congress won only 10 seats in the 60-member house in the February polls. The Congress's poll partners - Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura and National Conference of Tripura - drew a blank each.

The CPI-M won 49 seats and the Communist Party of India was victorious in one constituency.

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