West Bengal: Alliance over? Left, Cong to contest bypolls separately

The Lok Sabha seats of Tamluk and Cooch Behar and Monteswar Assembly seat would go to the polls on November 19.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:October 25, 2016 1:06 pm
congress cpm alliance, congress west bengal, cpm west bengal, congress, cpm, West bengal, tmc, Kolkata, kolkata news, India news, Indian express news Congress state president Adhir Choudhury shares stage with Suryakanta Mishra. (Source: PTI)

Congress Monday announced to contest the bypolls of two parliamentary and one Assembly seats alone in West Bengal, marking an end to the seat-sharing understanding that it had reached with the CPM-led Left Front ahead of the state Assembly elections earlier this year.
Pointing out that CPM has already declared its candidates for the bypolls “unilaterally”, state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said they have sent a list of suggested candidates to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) for approval.

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“As soon as the bypolls were announced, the Left Front announced their candidates. Since they did so without any discussions with us, we take it that they want to contest alone. In such case, we too would pitch our candidates. We have prepared our list of candidates and sent it to the AICC for approval. AICC will take the final call,” Chowdhury said.

The Lok Sabha seats of Tamluk and Cooch Behar and Monteswar Assembly seat would go to the polls on November 19. The bypoll to Cooch Behar and Monteswar seats were necessitated following the deaths of Trinamool Congress MP Renuka Sinha and MLA Sajal Panja, respectively. The bypoll to Tamluk Lok Sabha seat was necessitated after TMC MP Suvendu Adhikari won the Nandigram Assembly seat and became a state minister.

The Left Front had declared its candidates for all three poll-bound constituencies last week.

While political analysts termed it as the end of the “honeymoon period” between the two parties, Chowdhury avoided a direct reply as to whether the decision of CPM and Congress to contest the bypolls separately was an indication of an end to their alliance in the state.

“Politics is a dynamic phenomenon and an alliance is formed keeping in mind the mutual interests. A political understanding cannot be reached unilaterally.

“However, there is no reason to believe that the relationship has ended. There will be polls in the future and we might once again contest the elections together,” he said.

Senior Congress leader Om Prakash Mishra, too did not rule out any future tie-up with the Left. “If they want, there can be a discussion. Even if we don’t have a political understanding for the bypolls, we will continue with our cooperation and coalition on other issues,” Mishra said. He added that fight of the Congress would chiefly be against the TMC and the BJP.