Left, Cong to join forces in Bengal Assembly bypolls

With an eye on the 2021 Assembly elections, the Left Front has decided to leave two seats for the Congress for the upcoming Assembly byelections.

According to sources in the Left Front, out of the poll bound Kharagpur Sadar, Kaliaganj and Karimpur Assembly seats it will field candidate only in Karimpur leaving the rest to the Congress.

However, the Left Front and the Congress are yet to formally announce the decision. The by-elections will be held on November 25.

Left Front sources revealed that Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra has urged Left Front chairperson Biman Basu that the two sides should form a joint platform to hit the streets against the ruling TMC and the BJP.

A similar suggestion was given to Basu by key Left Front constituent, the Forward Bloc, to increase the credibility of the proposed alliance to the people.

Left Front constituent CPI at a recent Front meeting suggested that to strengthen the Left-Congress alliance, the two sides should jointly declare their candidates.

However, the state Congress is facing internal disagreement over the by-elections as a section of party leaders has urged party interim president Sonia Gandhi suggesting that the Kharagpur Sadar seat should be left to the TMC to keep the BJP at bay.

Congress sources revealed that these party leaders are of the opinion that after the death of former Congress MLA from Kharagpur Sadar, Gyan Singh Sohanpal, in 2017, the party organisation has become very weak and most Congress workers there have either switched to TMC or are in touch with the BJP.

“In such a situation, the state Congress president wants to declare the candidate for Kharagpur Sadar as soon as possible,” a senior Congress leader said.

Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharya said that the party will not allow the Left-Congress alliance to collapse like in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The Karagpur Sadar seat became vacant after sitting BJP MLA Dilip Ghosh got elected to the Lok Sabha.

By-election was necessitated in Karimpur for a similar reason as TMC MLA Mahua Moitra got elected to the Lok Sabha.

The Kaliaganj Assembly seat fell vacant after Congress MLA Pramatha Nath Roy passed away on May 31.

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