Will the Left-Cong alliance succeed in the WB polls?

Will the Left-Congress alliance succeed in the West Bengal Assembly polls?

The key challenge for the CPI(M) and Congress would be to maintain the status quo with regard to the number of seats they got in the last Assembly elections

Considering the steady decline of both the Left Front and Congress in Bengal, the alliance seems to be more of a necessity than a strategy.

With the Congress High Command officially approving the alliance with the Left Front for the 2021 Assembly elections in West Bengal and the CPI(M) Central Committee giving its nod earlier, the Left-Congress combo would have to face the dual challenge of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP.

It would be an uphill task not only because of their rickety organisatons and differences within the two sides regarding the alliance, but also due to the fact that it was still not clear whether the BJP or the TMC would be the main enemy.

CPI(M) leadership argued that although BJP was the “main threat” at the national level, its advance in Bengal could not be stopped unless they fight against the TMC and oust it from power. Focussing their attack solely on the TMC might end up benefiting the BJP as in that case it might get all the anti-incumbency votes. BJP won 18 seats in Bengal in the last Lok Sabha elections by eating into the Left’s vote share, while TMC’s vote share remained intact.

Considering the steady decline of both the Left Front and Congress in Bengal, the alliance seemed to be more of a necessity than a strategy.

“The challenge for us is to balance our attack against the TMC and the BJP. If the focus of our attack shifts too much on one of them, then the other would benefit from it, failing the very purpose of the alliance,” said a senior CPI(M) state leader.

The key challenge for the CPI(M) would be to maintain the status quo with regard to the number of seats (26) they got in the last Assembly elections and the same applies for the Congress (44).

Speaking to DH, senior CPI(M) MLA and Leader of the Left Legislative Party in the State Assembly Sujan Chakraborty said that both the BJP and TMC were trying to create a narrative that they were the only alternatives available to the voters.

“BJP claims that they want to defeat the TMC. But BJP is made of leaders and cadres from the TMC. TMC can’t defeat BJP. Our thrust is that only we (Left along with Congress) can oust TMC and stop BJP,” said Chakraborty.

Senior State Congress leader and MP Pradip Bhattacharya said that the BJP and the TMC were trying to create a “false bipolar narrative” in vain as there was enough “vacant political space” where the Left-Congress alliance would capitalise.

Political observer and author Signdhendu Bhattacharya said “there was almost no possibility of the Left-Congress alliance coming to power in Bengal in the next Assembly elections. However, if the Left Front can increase their vote vote share to 12% it will be a problem for the BJP as in such a situation it will divide the anti-TMC votes.”