West Bengal

Congress for getting more seats in Bengal alliance

Congress flag. File  

The Congress is for getting more share of seats in the alliance in the coming West Bengal Assembly polls. For this, it has quoted the changed political equations on the ground and the shrinking presence of the Left parties that became sharply evident during the Lok Sabha polls when they failed to win a single seat in the State.

In the 2016 Assembly elections, the Congress fought in 92 seats and won in 44.

According to sources, now it is demanding 130 seats. The first seat-sharing talks between the Congress and the Left front took place on Sunday. The next round will take place on January 25.

Left stand

The Left wants a seat division as per the formula that the sitting seats should be retained by each of the winning party along with the seats that they were runner-ups on. “Two-thirds of the seats should go to the Left front and one-third to the Congress. There is no confusion in that,” a senior Left leader from West Bengal said.

The Congress is not keen to follow this. Rajya Sabha member and member of the negotiating team on behalf of the Congress Pradeep Bhattacharya told The Hindu that while the formula was acceptable, the Congress should get more.

“I have three reasons to make the case. First, in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Left vote share saw an erosion of nearly 21 per cent. The Congress on the other hand shrunk only by 2-3 percent,” he said.

The second reason, Mr. Bhattacharya argued, was that the voters have already tried both the Trinamool Congress and the Left rule. The Congress had not been in power in the State since 1977 and the voters were keen to bring it back, he claimed. “The third factor is the peaceful and progressive politics of the Congress,” he said. But given all this, he insisted that the party was determined to have an alliance with the Left leaving aside the differences to resist the BJP in the State.

On January 25, the Left front is expected to come up with a figure for the Congress.

State unit will decide: Yechury

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the decision-making process on the seat division was entirely left to the party’s State unit. “All sides understand that an electoral understanding between the Left and the Congress is essential. The basic approach should be to go seat by seat. The winnability should be the key criteria,” he noted.

CPI general secretary D. Raja said the Congress should keep its recent performance in the Bihar Assembly elections in mind. The Congress fought in 70 seats and bagged only 19. “I hope the Congress is realistic and reasonable in its expectations,” he added.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 9:02:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/congress-for-getting-more-seats-in-bengal-alliance/article33610990.ece

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