Left-Cong alliance yet to finalise seat-sharing deal

A day after the Left-Congress’ first rally in Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground drew a huge crowd, senior Congress leaders on Monday said that the parties are yet to finalise their seat-sharing arrangement, even as the state Assembly poll schedule has been announced.

West Bengal is going to the polls from March 27 which will be held in eight phases, up from seven last time, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said while announcing the poll schedule last Friday.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: “The discussion on the seat-sharing deal with the Left parties is underway but whereas RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav is concerned, I can’t say anything on that as he is in talks about the agreement with other parties.”

The Congress leaders however asserted that the seat-sharing deal will be finalised after the party’s leader B.K. Hariprasad, who is also the in-charge of the Bengal poll management, gives the nod for it.

Hariprasad said, “The state will see a triangular contest and the Congress alliance will fight to win the elections.”

The Sunday rally jointly held by the CPI-M led Left Front, the Congress and the Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui-led Indian Secular Front (ISF) displayed the strength of a political alternative to the people in West Bengal.

The mega political show was organised at a time when the Left Front and the Congress have not finalised the seat-sharing agreement.

Talks between the Left and ISF have also been sealed as both the parties have agreed upon 30 seats for the newly-floated political outfit.

The problem remains over the seat-sharing between the Congress and the ISF, as the negotiations between two parties are still underway and Congress doesn’t want to concede seats which it had won in the last election.

The Congress last time had contested 92 seats and won 44 in which about 20 MLAs crossed to the ruling TMC. The Congress is the second largest party in the outgoing Assembly holding the Leader of Opposition’s post.

The Congress-Left-ISF alliance wants to make the Assembly polls a triangular contest and not only between TMC and BJP. The saffron party has also placed itself as the main Opposition after winning 18 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

The TMC is eyeing a third term in West Bengal, however many leaders including close aides of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have switched sides to the BJP, even as the saffron party is upbeat about the polls and central leaders of the party are visiting the state frequently.