'Charisma not enough for poll victory'

KOLKATA MAY 20. The West Bengal PCC chief, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, today attributed the defeat of the Congress-Trinamool Congress combine in the Assembly elections to lack of organisation and said that personal charisma of any individual leader was not enough in ensuring victory.

`` These are the lessons that we must learn from the results of the elections,'' Mr. Mukherjee told the CLP's first meeting here which elected Mr. Atish Sinha as its leader.

Stating that the Congress was keen on playing the role of the `classical Opposition by opposing, exposing and isolating the Government' in the Assembly, the PCC chief said that it would not indulge in any rowdism inside the House. ``There may be some media limelight on rowdism, but it sends wrong message to the people.'' Later, he told reporters that the Congress was not apprehensive about the Trinamool returning to the NDA, but said that his party would act `accordingly' if such an event, however, took place.

Pointing out that his party began talks with the Trinamool chief, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, only after she withdrew from the NDA, Mr. Mukherjee said the Congress was still firm on the stand that it would have no truck with the Trinamool as long it was part of the NDA.

To a question, he said that a joint programme between the Congress and the Trinamool outside the Assembly was possible and it would be decided only after talks between the leaders of the two parties.

`Check malpractices'

The former West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr. Siddhartha Shankar Ray, today demanded setting up of an inquiry commission to probe into the `unusually' high and skewed polling pattern in a large number of booths during the Assembly elections in the State.

``There are reports of unusually high poll percentage in a large number of booths. If the reports are found to be true, a commission of inquiry should be set up under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1952, to probe into possible electoral malpractices,'' Mr. Ray told newspersons here.

He also demanded repolling in all the booths where over 75 per cent of the votes had gone in favour of one candidate. The polling percentage has been over 85 per cent in about 40,000 of the total over 61,500 booths in the State, Mr. Ray said.