Congress-Communist alliance in Bengal polls: Good arithmetic, chemistry to be tested

Even as this most incongruous political tie up struggles to find common grounds for a fight, the outcome of it and its aftermath remains a big question mark.

Written by Subrata Nagchoudhary | Kolkata | Updated: March 25, 2016 4:46 pm


West Bengal polls, Bengal assembly polls, West Bengal assembly polls, Bengal polls, Congress Left Front West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. Express photo by Partha Paul.

The two arch rivals in politics for decades – the Congress and the Communists  – have finally reached a workable “understanding” in sharing seats in the West Bengal state assembly polls to put up a combined fight against the ruling Trinamool Congress.

But for the moment, the two seem to have buried all their animosity as they say: “We are ready to do anything to oust this “despotic and autocratic” rule of the Trinamool Congress, and Mamata Banerjee.

Keystrokes: Bengal Political League

After days and nights of consultations, the two sides have broadly agreed to field candidates in a manner that will make the fight one to one. In other words, the Opposition will try and limit the splitting of anti-TMC votes by giving just one candidate against the Trinamool Congress. In this formula, the Left Front is broadly contesting about 200 state assembly seats where the Congress will not give any candidate and the Congress is expected to fight about 80 seats where the Left will have no contest. The rest of the seats out of 294 – about 15 – are the ones where consensus could not be reached and both decided to have “friendly fights”.

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The electoral arithmetic has pushed the two sides into an understanding as the combined vote share of both the Congress and the Left works out to be way ahead of the Trinamool Congress in a large number of seats, particularly in about six North Bengal districts. Even in a couple of South Bengal districts the combined vote share of the Congress and the Left should be a cause for worry for the ruling TMC.

About eight districts of North Bengal would account for about 65 assembly seats where the Congress-CPM alliance should be at an advantage. There are a number of seats also in North and South 24-parganas and several other South Bengal districts where the Congress-CPM combined vote can be more than the Trinamool Congress.

But the ground chemistry is what has not been tested yet. This will be the first experiment in which the Left and Congress supporters are ideally expected to have a common choice. Depending on who is fighting what seat, a Congress voter may have to vote for a Communist contestant or a Left committed cadre may have to vote for a Congress man. This transfer of vote is what – the ground chemistry is and it would be difficult to predict a pattern. There lies the uncertainly of the electoral alliance.

The Trinamool Congress is worried but is confident that the “vote transfer” of Congress-CPM voters would not be as menacing as to cause any big upset. It might at best alter the outcome in about 20-25 seats, mostly in North Bengal. Didi has therefore, landed in North Bengal for a four-day whirlwind tour this week explaining why “an unethical and unprincipled” alliance should be defeated. She had also been reminding the old Congressmen about Communist massacre of Congress families in Bengal. The rest is to be seen in the ballot box.

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  1. M
    Mar 18, 2016 at 7:16 pm
    Birds of a feather flocks together. Everything is in expected lines!
    1. M
      Mar 18, 2016 at 7:29 pm
      Congress inherently is leftiest by nature but for opportunistic reason it uses the word democracy like they use hian masks to loot the "Harijans" of poltics!
      1. M
        Mar 18, 2016 at 7:26 pm
        Didn't they say for fear of a lion "tiger" and "buffalo" and up drinking water "peacefully" from the same pot!
        1. M
          Mar 18, 2016 at 7:24 pm
          People of Bengal are mostly lazy compared to other parts of India and have less aspirations In life! This has happened because of long commie rules which taught them "humans are just another animals" and nothing more! Most have taken this ideal literally and become such model unto themselves after spending years in the commie shadow! It is for this reason that they get the crooks and thieves as their leaders (and at best they take it with chalta hai atude) who promise to give them "easy" ride in their ride of life!
          1. R
            Mar 18, 2016 at 8:58 pm
            Agar aise alliance BJP koi aur party ke saath banaye, to same author will cry foul and talk of ideologies and BS stuff. Magar commie aur congri hain, to everything is acceptable and good.
            1. V
              Mar 19, 2016 at 3:51 am
              opportunistic alliance. commies want to retain a election symbol. congress has to retain their face. so both r going for everywhere against bjp to distablise the country which suits commies as they always want chaos and anarchy in country
              1. M
                Mar 18, 2016 at 5:21 pm
                The people of Bengal should now realise that both the CONgress and the LEFT have been fooling them because they are both old wines in the same bottle
                1. T
                  Thrinethran T
                  Mar 18, 2016 at 8:38 pm
                  It is a good bargain for the WB Congress, as they have no more workers to sacrifice.
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