It’s official: Congress announces an alliance with the Left Front for the Bengali assembly elections

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: December 24, 2020, 4:10:48 pm

Congress Left Front Alliance, West Bengal Congregation Polls, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury, Bengal Congregation Elections, Indian ExpressSitaram Yechury from CPI (M) with Rahul Gandhi from Congress. (Express file photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

The high command of Congress has officially approved an alliance with the Left Front for the upcoming parliamentary elections in West Bengal, party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said on Thursday.

In October the CPM Central Committee decided that the The party and the left front have an electoral understanding with Congress to fight against the ruling Trinamool Congress and an aggressive BJP in West Bengal, where both the CPM and Congress were facing an existential crisis.

In November, after Congress Chairman Rahul Gandhi’s online meeting with Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and several other heads of state, sources said so Party would start seat allocation talks with the left front after the provisional Congress President, Sonia Gandhi gave the green signal.

Although the seat allocation talks before the last assembly election and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections – when the two sides failed to reach an agreement – were not easy, both times Congress reaped the benefits in terms of seats won as it has a high level of concentration of voters in selected constituencies in North Bengal.

The Left Front had not won a single seat in Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and lost bailouts in 39 constituencies, while Congress took just two seats and lost bailouts in 38 other constituencies. On the flip side, the BJP won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats, just four behind TMC’s 22 seats, and heralded itself as a formidable force in the Bengal political arena.

In the polls of the Bengali Assembly in 2016, the Left Front and Congress together won 76 out of 294 seats in West Bengal after reaching 38 percent of the vote. The Left Front got 26 percent of the vote while Congress got just 12 percent. Despite such a small percentage of the vote, Congress won 44 seats while the Left Front only won 32 seats.

At the meeting last month, the leaders of the Pradesh Congress unanimously voted for the alliance. Discussions to consolidate this were delayed after the party’s election setback in Bihar. The high command of Congress particularly noted the party’s dwindling share of the vote in Bengal, which fell to 6.29 percent in 2019, while the BJP was 40 percent and the Trinamool Congress was 43 percent.

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