Rahul Gandhi discuss Left-Cong alliance with Bengal leaders
Rahul Gandhi and Cong leaders discuss aspects of alliance with Left Front in 2021 West Bengal polls
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday held a virtual meeting with West Bengal unit leaders seeking their opinion on allying with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Left Front for the 2021 Assembly elections in the state.
With few months left for the West Bengal assembly elections to be held, Rahul Gandhi also reviewed the Congress party’s preparedness for the polls. Significantly, Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and other senior party leaders from the state were present during the virtual meeting. As per media reports, Rahul Gandhi also discussed the seat-sharing deal between the two parties with party leaders.
Speaking to media, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that Gandhi sought the leaders’ opinion on a Congress-Left alliance to fight against the ruling-Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal.
This development has come weeks after the Congress party managed to win only 19 seats out of the 70 seats it contested in the Bihar assembly elections.
Reportedly, Congress leaders have told Gandhi that the entire Bengal unit is eager to forge an alliance with the Left in the state polls. However, a decision on seat-sharing is yet to be taken by the party leadership. Reports stated that Rahul Gandhi told the party leaders that he would apprise Congress chief Sonia Gandhi about the development and that she would take the final decision on the matter.
Congress and CPI(M)-led Left Front had joined forces to contest the 2016 West Bengal assembly polls and bagged only 76 seats in the 294-member state assembly. While Congress did better than its Left partners by securing 44 seats, CPI(M) came down to only 26 seats. In the aftermath of poll results, the Left Front walked out of the alliance.
At the same time, the two parties failed to form an alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls due to disagreement on seat-sharing, which cost them a major chunk of their vote share. While Congress managed to retain two seats in the state, CPI(M) drew blank.
Earlier in October, the CPI(M) central committee had approved the West Bengal unit’s decision to join forces with the Congress party in the upcoming state elections that are likely to take place in April-May, 2021. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had stated that the Left Front has agreed on an electoral understanding with all secular parties, including Congress in West Bengal with the aim of defeating BJP and TMC in the polls.