WB bypolls results raise question on Left-Cong alliance

Representative image. (Photo: PTI/Getty image)

The failure of the alliance between the Left Front and the Congress in the recent Assembly bypolls have raised questions on both sides regarding the utility of the alliance. Not only did the alliance draw a blank in the byeelections with the exception of the Kharagpur Sadar Assembly seat all its candidates have lost their deposits.

While the Left Front has become doubtful whether Congress has the capacity to transfer its votes, the options of either aligning with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) or going solo in Bengal are being floated within the party by sections of state Congress leaders. Byeelections were held in Kharagpur Sadar, Karimpur and Kaliganj. TMC won all the three seats.

According to sources in CPI(M), the biggest constituent of the Left Front, the party leadership will not take a call on whether to continue the alliance before the next State Committee meeting in January. The state leadership has instructed the district units to prepare a detailed report on the byeelection results which will then be analysed in the State Committee meeting.

Sources in the state Congress revealed that a section of party leaders is of the opinion that instead of aligning with a "spent force", the Left Front the party should join forces with the TMC to remain relevant in Bengal politics.

“However, another section of state leaders is arguing that the Congress should go solo in Bengal, revive its rickety organisation instead of depending on the Left Front and TMC,” a senior state Congress leader said.

The state Congress leadership will soon call a meeting to decide the fate of its alliance with the Left Front. However, the date of the meeting is yet to be finalised.

Although the Left Front and Congress joined forces in the 2016 Assembly elections, due to the history of bitter rivalry between the two, Congress was unable to transfer its votes to the Left Front candidates in several constituencies. Although a section of CPI(M) leaders opposed to alliance posed the question to the state leadership after the last Assembly elections results were declared CPI(M), state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra argued that the party’s tally would have decreased further if it did not join forces with Congress.

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