West Bengal polls: Four-way fight on cards, TMC smells victory

  • Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Dec 22, 2015 11:15 IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee addresses Martyr’s Day rally in Kolkata. (PTI file photo)

With West Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury stating that the party will go it alone in the Assembly elections, it seems Mamata Banerjee’s three-day visit to New Delhi has started paying off.

“We’ll fight alone in the coming Assembly elections,” Chowdhury had said during a party programme in Singur on Sunday, barely a few days after he met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.

On Monday, a senior state Congress leader told HT that Chowdhury’s statement mostly reflect the mindset of the party high command.

But CPI(M) state secretariat member Robin Deb has not ruled out local-level understanding with “democratic forces within the Congress” but said there was very little chances of striking a formal alliance with them.

Whether Congress and the Left fight it alone, or move into any electoral adjustment is of importance. While there was growing demand in both camps for an understanding between the two, such an alliance would counter Mamata Banerjee’s design to consolidate opposition votes.

“Mamata Banerjee seems to have succeeded in foiling any possibility of the Congress and Left coming together. The central leadership does not want to irk the CPI(M) or the Trinamool by striking any alliance with either,” a veteran Congress leader told HT on the condition of anonymity.

Following the success of the ‘Siliguri model’ that helped the Left wrest both urban and rural constituencies from the ruling party through a consolidation of opposition (read Congress and Left) votes, the Trinamool Congress woke up to the trouble such an alliance could pose in more areas of the state.

If the ruling party succeeds in thwarting an alliance between Congress and the Left, the TMC camp appears confident of even improving the 2011 tally of 184 seats in a 294-seat House (63% of the seats).

Trinamool MP Kalyan Banerjee and Bengal minister Becharam Manna said the party is confident of bagging more than 200 seats. “(We) may get around 220 as well,” Banerjee told HT.

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