Congress flags waves at rallies
Congress flags waves at rallies

Congress, Left to complete seat-sharing arrangement in Bengal by January end

  • The Election Commission of India is likely to announce the schedule of the elections in February and the polls may be held in phases in March and April.
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 12:42 AM IST

The Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and other Left parties in West Bengal will complete their seat sharing arrangement for the coming assembly polls by the end of January.

The announcement was made on Sunday afternoon by Bengal Congress president and the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Left Front chairman Biman Bose after a meeting of the alliance partners.

Bengal has 294 assembly seats. The Election Commission of India is likely to announce the schedule of the elections in February and the polls may be held in phases in March and April.

Though Chowdhury and Bose did not say how they propose to divide the 294 seats among the Congress and the coalition of 16 Left parties, leaders who attended the meeting said Chowdhury has requested for 110 seats since the Congress managed to retain two Lok Sabha seats in 2019 and also increased its vote share in some pockets.

“Seat sharing is an evolving process. We will hold more meetings in the coming days. Our target is to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and also end the autocratic rule of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). The Congress and the Left parties will work as friends to achieve this,” Chowdhury told the media.

Asked about statements by some senior TMC leaders, such as Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy, that the Congress and Left parties should support the ruling party to stop the BJP onslaught, Biman Bose said, “It is the TMC that brought the BJP to Bengal. They are saying these now to confuse people, to create a smokescreen.”

“Though we know that the BJP is the nation’s biggest enemy, in view of the situation in Bengal we have to put up a well-organised electoral struggle against both the parties,” said Bose.

The Congress and the Left Front partners contested as allies in the 2016 assembly polls but couldn’t stop the TMC from coming to power with 211 seats. Since the Congress benefitted more from the alliance and wrested 44 seats against the Left’s 32, the tie-up did not last.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress and the Left contested as opponents but it was the BJP that turned heads by winning 18 of the state’s 42 seats, thanks to a huge swing in Left votes in favour of the saffron camp. Seen in terms of assembly segments, the BJP is ahead of the others in 122 assembly seats in 2021 while the TMC is ahead in 163.

Union home minister Amit Shah has announced that his party will win more than 200 seats in the coming polls.

In terms of vote share in the 2019 polls, the TMC got 43.69 % against 40.64 % secured by the BJP. The CPI(M)’s vote share came down to 6.34 % while the Congress got 5.67%. In terms of loss in votes share, the Left suffered more than the Congress.

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