West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee
The West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WB.P.C.C or WPCC) is the unit of the Indian National Congress for the state of West Bengal. The head office of the organization is Bidhan Bhavan, situated in Kolkata at Dr. Lalmohon Bhattacharya Road. The current President of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee is Prof. Pradip Bhattacharya. Before Pradip Bhattacharya the leader of the committee was West Bengal state irrigation minister Dr.Manas Bhunia.
List of presidents of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee
- 1945- Labanya Prabha Datta
- 1948- Dr. Suresh Chandra Bandopaddhaya
- 1949- Surendra Mohon Ghosh
- 1950- Atulya Ghosh
- 1958- Dr. Yadavendra Nath Panja
- 1961- Atulya Ghosh
- 1962- Rabindra Lal Singha
- 1964-Ajoy Mukhopaddhaya
- 1965- Dr. Rejaul Karim
- 1966- Dr. Pratap Chandra Chandra
- 1970- Bijoy Singh Nahar
- 1971- Abdus Sattar
- 1972- Arun Maitra
- 1977- Purabi Mukherjee
- 1978- A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury
- 1980- Ajit Panja
- 1981- Ananda Gopal Mukherjee
- 1985- Pranab Mukherjee
- 1988- A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury
- 1991- Sidhdharta Sankar Ray
- 1992- Somen Mitra
- 1996- Somen Mitra
- 1998- A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury
- 2000- Pranab Mukherjee
- 2001- Pranab Mukherjee
- 2008- Priya Ranjan Das Munshi
- 2010- Manas Bhunia
- 2011- Pradip Bhattacharya
The WBPCC, since 2009, has been trying to regain the Congress's lost votebank in West Bengal after the advent of Trinamool Congress as the principal challenger to the Left Front in the state. To maintain a healthy alliance with the AITC at the Centre, the state unit of the Congress has had to compromise regarding the seat-sharing adjustment with AITC during almost every election since the 2009 Loksabha polls. Despite its organisational strength, the Congress had not been allowed to contest sufficient number of seats in its bastions of Murshidabad, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur and pockets of Purulia, Birbhum, Nadia, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Bardhaman, Uttar 24 Pargana and Kolkata district in the 2011 Vidhansabha election . Thus, there was a great dissent among party workers and state level leaders, some of whom have defected to the AITC which has been desperate to make inroads into Congress strongholds. The Congress workers have been attacked and their party offices have been taken over by alleged AITC activists despite the latter being the party's alliance partner. In the municipal elections to six civic bodies in 2012, no alliance could be worked out between the state Congress and the AITC as the latter had offered very few seats for the Congress to contest, which was totally "unacceptable" to the Congress leaders. Therefore, the Congress was left with no other option but to field candidates independently, but there were reports of alleged threats from AITC workers to Congress candidates - warning them of dire consequences if they did not withdraw their nomination . For instance in Haldia municipality, two Congress candidates was assaulted and their husbands were 'kidnapped' by alleged Trinamul Congress activists which forced them to withdraw from the electoral fray. The situation was same in Durgapur Municipal Corporation election, where Congress workers and candidates were allegedly prevented from campaigning in few wards by Trinamool Congress leaders. Due to this, the Congress could not field candidates in as many as 24 of the 129 wards which went to polls. Such is the situation in West Bengal Pradesh Congress circles which as of now is making it difficult to revive the Grand Old party in the state of West Bengal.The big task ahead of the WBPCC is to prove the Congress's existence as a force to reckon with in the state by defending the Congress's fortresses and by winning a substantial number of seats in the municipal elections as well as the Panchayat elections in 2013 which would be quite enough to boost the morale of the beleaguered Congress worker to take on all opposition from the Left Front as well as the AITC.
Performance of INC in elections in West Bengal
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Loksabha election 2009
The Congress high command had worked out an alliance with the Trinamool Congress for the 2009 Loksabha polls as a result of which the state leadership of the Congress had to accept the seat-sharing deal with the AITC on Mamata Banerjee's terms. The AITC offered only 14 of the 42 seats in West Bengal for the Congress to contest, and that included several Left Front bastions for decades like Arambagh, Jhargram, Bankura and Bolpur . But the leaders eventually had to accept the "humiliating" offer for the sake of the alliance. The Congress fought 'bravely' in the Loksabha election and retained all its fortresses such as Jangipur, Baharampur, Murshidabad, Malda North, Malda South and Raiganj, but it could not open its account in the rest of South Bengal where its contested only "unwinnable" seats which the Left Front retained.Before the election, the Congress had 6 MPs from West Bengal - and it remained with six even after the election.On the other hand, the AITC with only one MP, went up to 19, thanks to the alliance. Overall as an alliance, the AITC-INC-SUCI combined crushed the then ruling Left Front which won only 15 seats as opposed to the alliance's 26.
Municipal election 2010
Elections to 81 municipalities in West Bengal took place in the year 2010. Again the AITC offered very few seats to the Congress. But the municipal election being a localized one, the state leadership officially decided to go it alone in the election but left it to the local leadership of the party to decided whether to go for unofficial seat adjustments with the AITC at the local level.This election was seen as a "do or die" for the state Congress to prove its independent existence in the state and also the fact that it could win on its own. Results Cooch Behar district : The Congress performed very well in the Cooch Behar municipality by bagging eight seats but it could not open its account in Tufanganj, Mathabhanga and Dinhata municipalities. Jalpaiguri district : The Congress gracefully retained the Jalpaiguri municipality by winning 16 of the 25 seats whereas its UPA ally at the Centre, the AITC managed to win only one . Malda district : The Congress improved its performance and won the Englishbazaar municipality with support from the AITC but in Old Malda municipality it could win only in 6 seats while the Left Front won 12. Murshidabad district : The Congress bagged Beldanga, Murshidabad and Kandi municipalities and missed Dhulian by just one seat. But it could not snatch away Jangipur and Jiaganj-Azimganj municipalities from the Left Front. Nadia district : The Congress retained Santipur and Birnagar municipalities but lost control of Ranaghat which went to the AITC. It won a few seats in Nabadwip and Kalyani municipalities but scored zero in Gayeshpur and Taherpur. Uttar 24 Parganas district : In Baranagar, Titagarh, New Barrackpur, Kanchrapara, Garulia, Taki and Bongaon the Congress performed quite well and the AITC will require its support to form the municipal boards. In Basirhat and Baduria, the Congress emerged as the single largest party and will form the boards with support from the AITC. But the Congress could not open its account in Ashoknagar-Kalyangarh, Kamarhati, Khardaha and Bidhannagar municipalities. Dakshin 24 Parganas district : The Congress emerged as the single largest party in Jaynagar-Mazilpur municipality and formed the board with external support, but it failed to win any seat in Baruipur. Kolkata district : The AITC had offered only 25 seats out of the 141 to the Congress which had demanded 51. Fighting alone, the Congress bagged as many as 10 seats - quite good for a party like the Congress which has a weak organizational base in Kolkata. According to a senior WBPCC leader, "Had the Congress accepted the 25 seats , it would have won only 8 as 17 of the seats are Left strongholds!" Howrah district : In Bally municipality, the Congress failed to win in any seat. Hooghly district : The Congress formed the municipal board in Rishra by emerging as the single largest party and the AITC required the Congress's support to control Sreerampur, Champdani and Konnagar. Though the Congress won substantial seats in Bansebria, Bhadreswar, Baidyabati and Hooghly-Chinsura it was blanked out in Chandannagar, Uttarpara-Kotrung, Tarakeswar and Arambagh. Purba Medinipur district: The Congress fought bravely and won 2 seats in Tamluk municipality but could not win any seat in Kanthi. Paschim Medinipur district : The Congress performed well in Ghatal, Kharagpur and Ramjibanpur where it formed the boards along with the AITC. But it could not make its presence be felt in Kharar, Khirpai and Chandrakona. Purulia district : The Congress bagged 8 seats in Purulia municipality and gained control of it along with the AITC but it could not snatch Jhalda from the Left. It also won a seat in Raghunathpur municipality and the AITC will require its support to form the board. Bankura district : The Congress won 5 seats in Bankura municipality which the AITC will run with the Congress's support but it drew a blank in Sonamukhi and lost control of Bishnupur. Bardhaman district : The Congress won all 19 seats and won Katwa municipality and emerged as the single largest party in Dainhat. The AITC required the support of 5 Congress councillors to form the board at Kalna. The Congress also won an impressive number of seats in Memari and opened its account in Jamuria, but it remained a negligible force in Raniganj. Birbhum district : The Congress won an impressive 8 and 6 seats in Bolpur and Suri municipalities respectively and it bagged 4 in Rampurhat. In all 3 bodies, the Congress's support would be crucial for the AITC to form the boards.
Overall, the Congress won 330 (18.4%) of the 1791 wards that went to polls in the year 2010. This was indeed an impressive result for the party, as it had fought alone - without the AITC.
Assembly election 2011
This time also, a "illogical and humiliating" offer of only 65 of the 294 assembly seats had to accepted by the state Congress as the high command wanted the AITC-Congress alliance to remain intact. The Congress performed well by winning 42 of the 65 seats with excellent results from Malda and Murshidabad districts and pockets of North and South Bengal. It joined the Mamata Banerjee led government and had 2 Cabinet Ministers and 5 Ministers of State representing the party before withdrawing support from the state government .
Municipal Elections to six civic bodies in 2012
Municipal elections to Dhupguri, Durgapur, Haldia, Panskura, Nalhati and Coopers' Camp were held in 2012. The Congress fought independently and fieled candidates in 105 of the 129 wards for which elections were held. The Congress could not win any seat in Dhupguri, Haldia and Panskura municipalities . It won a seat in Durgapur Municipal Corporation . In Nalhati (from where Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit is elected to the assembly), the party managed only 3 of the 15 seats . But the party received a shot in the arm when it registered a stunning victory in Coopers' Camp - winning 11 of the 12 seats. The AITC managed to win only one.