WB Cong wary of tie up with TMC for 2019 polls

WB Cong wary of tie up with TMC for 2019 polls

File photo of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee with UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The Congress in West Bengal is wary of a TMC-Congress alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls. PTI file photo

The West Bengal leadership of the Congress has primarily decided not to enter into an alliance with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the state for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Congress sources told DH that if needed, the party will contest the Lok Sabha polls on its own strength in the state.

"The state Congress leadership has decided that we will not enter into an alliance with TMC in the next Lok Sabha elections. We will convey our decision to the party high command soon. The high command will take the final decision," said a senior state Congress leader under conditions of anonymity.

Congress sources revealed that the state leadership is keen on joining forces with the CPM-led Left Front. According to them, the state Congress will try to convince its High Command in not joining forces with TMC and aligning with the Left Front instead.  

The main argument of the Congress is that if it contests the next Lok Sabha elections along with the Left Front in West Bengal, the alliance is likely to get considerable success against the TMC. 

"We will try to convince the party high command that if we join forces with the Left Front, we will be able to wrest a significant number of Assembly seats from the TMC. This will not be possible if the Congress contests the elections on its own in West Bengal" the Congress leader said.

He also said that if the Left Front and Congress come together in 2019, there is a potential for success in districts such as East and West Bardhaman, Malda and Murshidabad.

The Congress and the Left Front entered into a seat sharing agreement in the 2016 Assembly election in West Bengal. However, the TMC returned to power with a massive mandate winning 211 seats out of the total 294 Assembly seats in the state.

The TMC and the Congress joined forces in the 2011 Assembly elections in West Bengal and was able to end 34 years of Left rule in the state. However, even after forming a coalition government, the alliance fell apart when Congress pulled out of the TMC-led government in 2012. 

"The TMC-Congress alliance in 2011 benefited the TMC and not Congress. We don't want to repeat the same mistake in 2019," Congress sources said.