By Kartikeya Sharma
New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) The Congress and the Left will finalise their seat sharing formula for the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal before January 31, sources confirmed to IANS on Saturday.
Speaking to IANS, Congress in-charge for West Bengal, Jitin Prasada, confirmed that four leaders have been deputed to hold talks on seat sharing with the Left parties in the state.
“We have nominated Abdul Mannan, Pradeep Bhattacharya, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Nepal Mahata to hold talks with the Left leaders,” said Prasada.
The Congress had contested 92 seats in the previous elections, when the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress had swept the polls.
The Congress has a twin problem in hand. It is going to fight the elections against Mamata Banerjee who is an ideological ally at the Centre, while the rising force in Bengal continues to be the BJP.
Prasada said that the Left and the Congress will fight both the fronts. “When it comes to Mamata Banerjee, law and order is a big issue whereas the BJP wants to erase Bengali heritage and history,” Prasada told IANS.
The IANS C-Voter State of the Nation 2021 survey published by IANS on Saturday showed that the satisfaction level with Banerjee has remained high despite aggressive campaigning by the BJP in the state. As per the survey, 52 per cent of the people are satisfied with Mamata Banerjee’s performance. This is despite the fact that the BJP has become very visible in West Bengal.
In the 2016 Assembly elections, Trinamool had swept 211 out of 290 seats, whereas the Congress got 44, Left 24 and the BJP 3 seats.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the picture was again very different when the Trinamool got 22 seats, the BJP 18 and the Congress just 2 seats. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Trinamool had secured 34 out of 42 seats, but the BJP was able to increase its vote percentage to 17 per cent.
It shows that both times Bengal behaved differently during Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. This time too, the BJP has decided to go for an aggressive campaign but Mamata remains a formidable challenge.
The Left and the Congress, on the other hand, are banking on exchange of votes. But last time the Congress did better than the Left as the Left was able to transfer votes to the Congress candidates but the vice versa could not take place.
The elections are also important for the Congress because after losing Madhya Pradesh to an internal coup, a substantial loss would further demoralise the party cadres.