KOLKATA: Senior leaders of the Congress and the CPM-led Left Front met here on Sunday and held discussions on seat sharing. The grand old demanded 130 out of 294 assembly seats, which was immediately shot down by the Left.
LF chairman Biman Bose said two more meetings would be held and the seat-sharing deal would be finalised within January. “There is no misunderstanding between us. Though discussion on seat-sharing is yet to take place again. We will fight the election together to save the state from religious polarization,’’ said Bose.
Congress state president Adhir Chowdhury, who refused to respond to TMC’s recent call to support the ruling party, said the LF has many partners and they need time to discuss the issue with the other parties.
Recently, the TMC gave call to other non-BJP parties to support the ruling party to decimate the BJP’s rise in Bengal. “If the LF and Congress are seriously anti-BJP, they should support the Mamata Banerjee in her fight. It is because she is the real face of secular politics against the BJP,’’ said TMC MP and spokesperson Saugata Roy.
Chowdhury, who never misses an opportunity to blame the ruling party for BJP’s rise in Bengal, said, “We are not interested in supporting the TMC. The ruling party poached our MLAs in the last 10 years. If Mamata Banerjee is serious in fighting the BJP, then she should join the Congress as it the only national party to fight against communalism.’’
The LF and Congress wanted to share seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections but it fell apart after the CPM refused Congress to contest from Raiganj constituency. It was because CPM’s candidate Mohammad Selim had won in 2014 Lok Sabha election with razor-thin margin of 1,500 votes.
The LF and Congress had contested in 2016 Assembly elections and Chowdhury’s party emerged as the second-largest political force in Bengal. The Congress had bagged victory in 44 seats and the LF in 26.
“Our voters had voted for Congress candidates but in many seats, our candidates were not supported by Congress’s voters. This was why faced the debacle despite the seat-sharing deal with the Congress,’’ said a CPM leader.