The second round of talks between the Congress and Left parties for seat-sharing in the upcoming West Bengal elections culminated on Thursday. The arrangement has been finalised for 193 seats so far.
While Congress will contest on 92 seats, Left parties will contest on 101. The arrangement for the remaining 101 seats will be finalised in the next round of talks between the parties.
The parties had on Monday decided that they will contest the seats they had won respectively in the 2016 polls. The Left-Congress alliance in 2016 had won 77 seats, out of which the Congress had emerged victorious in 44.
“Today we have decided that we will keep the respective 44 and 33 seats that the Congress and the Left had won in 2016. On the remaining 217 seats, the talks are on,” senior Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya had said at a joint press conference. He had been hopeful that the seat-sharing arrangement would be completed by the end of the month.
Earlier in January, Left Front Chairman and CPI-M politburo member Biman Bose had said the alliance between the parties was a “must to defeat the communal force BJP and the fascist TMC (Trinamool Congress).”
“The alliance would definitely thrash the binary rule in Bengal,” the veteran Left leader had told the media.
The elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely to be held in April-May along with Assam, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. In the 2016 West Bengal polls, Trinamool had retained its majority and won 211 seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party won three seats.
However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Left and Congress had fought separately. While the Congress won two seats, the Left Front dominated by the CPI-M, which ruled Bengal for 34 years (1977-2011), drew a blank.