Bengal Polls: Cong, Left To Seal Seat-Sharing By End-Jan

By Siddharth Sharma

As West Bengal Assembly polls are inching closer and BJP and Trinamool Congress are utilising every day to intensify political slugfest, the third front in the state — Congress-Left alliance — is in the process to wind-up the seat-sharing formula by end of this month.

According to a source in the party, top leadership in the party has asked the state leadership to finalise the seat-sharing formula by end of January so that parties can work on the next level of choosing the candidates for the polls.

Congress has formed a committee of senior leaders of the state to formulate the talks with the Left parties. The committee members have already conducted three meetings with coalition partners in Kolkata.

Another meeting, which will be the fourth one, is scheduled to take place on Sunday in the capital of the state.Jitin Prasad, the AICC in-charge of the state, said: “We have set up a committee of senior leaders and they are well capable enough to take the call on seat sharing keeping in mind the best of the interest of both party and the state.”

On seat-sharing, he said that Congress is focusing on both the “quality and quantity” of seats.

According to the senior functionary of the party in West Bengal, things are not the same like other states. “Congress party’s stand was clear in the last election of the Assembly in 2016 as it fought on 92 seats and won 44 out of it, while Left parties won 32 out of the rest 202 seats.”

The source said that Left parties are somehow rigid about the seat share formula, observing that they have ruled the state for long and they should be given space as per their wish but “Congress wants to fight on more seats than the last time although nothing has been finalised yet, but Congress wants to divide seats according to the vote share.”

“At the same time, AICC leadership also considering the Bihar results into consideration where the party fought on more seats than the previous elections and it won lesser seats than the previous Assembly polls. However, as the talks are on, things will get settle down at the state level while the final formula will be adopted by the central leadership of both the parties,” the source added.
On January 4, Congress constituted a four-member committee led by its West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to hold talks with Left parties regarding seat-sharing and joint programmes for West Bengal polls.

Apart from Chowdhury, the members of the committee are Abdul Mannan, Pradip Bhattacharya and Nepal Mahato.

Chowdhury had announced last month that the Congress will fight the assembly polls in the state with the Left parties. (ANI)

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