Left, Congress begin alliance discussion in West Bengal

Left, Congress begin alliance discussion in West Bengal

The Left and Congress plan joint movements to gauge voter sentiment and response to the collaboration

Chowdhury said that both sides would start working on a common program soon. Credit: PTI Photo

Initiating the process for finalising their alliance for the 2021 Assembly elections, the Left Front and Congress have decided to focus on holding more joint movements based on a common program. Both sides are keen on deciding the final seat-sharing agreement based on the public response to the joint movement.

According to sources in the Left Front the decision was taken at a recent meeting in Kolkata between the Left Front and State Congress leadership including State Congress president and Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Chowdhury said that both sides would start working on a common program and preparation of its draft would begin soon.

“The meeting took place on a very positive note. Our joint movements will continue and I am hopeful of making rapid progress on preparing the draft common program,” said Chowdhury. However, he did not specify when the discussion for seat-sharing would begin.

CPI(M) state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said that the key objective of the joint movements by the Left Front and the Congress would be to provide a “third alternative” to the people outside the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and BJP.

According to sources in Congress it was decided in the meeting that the final decision regarding joint movements would be taken directly by the Left Front Chairperson Biman Basu and Chowdhury. Both leaders would have a telephonic conversation before hitting the streets and inform their respective parties.

Congress sources further revealed that during the meeting, Basu said that even though the Left-Congress alliance did not materialise in the last Lok Sabha elections, the Left Front did not field any candidates against Chowdhury and Congress candidate Abu Hasem as a “good will gesture.”

The Left Front and the Congress failed to strike a deal in the last Lok Sabha elections as they could not reach an agreement over seat-sharing and decided to contests on their own strength. Sources in both sides said that for the 2021 Assembly elections they wanted to start seat-sharing discussion well ahead to avoid any confusion.