Cong-Left split may benefit TMC in Kolkata: Analysts

Cong-Left split may benefit TMC in Kolkata local polls, say political watchers

Analysts, however, admitted that the TMC would have been likely to win even if the Congress and Left retained their alliance

TMC and CPI(M) members on their way to file nominations for the local body polls. Credit: PTI Photo

The Kolkata municipal administration polls is a four-cornered fight, and the Left-Congress split for the polls could further strengthen the Trinamool Congress (TMC), say political analysts. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too may get benefitted in the seats where parties have marginal differences of votes.

The elections to Kolkata Municipal Corporation are scheduled for December 19.

While the TMC and the BJP are pitching their own candidates for all 144 seats, the Left-Congress alliance that fought the last assembly elections together has parted ways for the municipal polls. The move is likely to consolidate TMC further in the city.

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For two consecutive terms, the administration of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has been with the TMC. Over the last decade, the Left and the Congress have seen diminishing performances, while the BJP has witnessed a steep rise.

In the city, however, local issues prevail, and the choice of candidates, besides the party, could always be a factor for voters. The TMC has 126 wards and the others, 18.

The existing parties in opposition, this time, are pitted against each other, as for most wards, the Left and the Congress have their candidates.

“It is irrelevant to TMC whether there was an alliance between the Congress and the Left, but given the fact that now there is a four-cornered fight, it will enhance chances of more seats for the TMC. Even if there was a Cong-Left alliance, Trinamool would have won by a big margin,” said Maidul Islam, a political scientist at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata. 

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Maidul, however, is not certain if such a split could be of use to the BJP. “The BJP has been in a confused state of affairs. There has been internal squabbling. They have a presence in one or two pockets in the Kolkata municipal area. It’s a wait-and-watch situation as far as BJP’s performance in Kolkata is concerned,” he said.

The split of votes, further, would help the Trinamool and could also help the Trinamool’s challenger, the BJP, in seats where it has had a competition with the Trinamool. 

Shikha Mukerjee, a political analyst, however, feels that Congress and the Left have realised that their individual voters will not vote for the other partner even if there is an alliance. “I think, the Congress, and the Left, have taken very calculated decisions. Voters loyal to the Congress or the Left will not transfer votes, or will not exchange votes. This is a realistic assessment that there will be no shift, or switch of votes just because there is an alliance.”

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