CPM leaders on Tuesday denied any possibility of an alliance or a seat-sharing understanding with the Congress, a day after state Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury hinted at an unofficial alliance between the two parties and vowed to ensure that TMC and BJP do not benefit from the division of opposition votes.
The state Congress leadership however maintained that they had never ended their alliance with the Left.
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The Left Front on Tuesday declared the names of two out of three candidates who will be contesting the upcoming by-polls in the state. In a press statement, Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said it had been decided that a Forward Bloc candidate from Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency would be pitched, though they were yet to decide who it would be. Mandira Panda would contest from Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency, while Md Osman Gani would be fielded from Monteswar Assembly constituency.
A day earlier, CPM state general secretary Dr Surjya Kanta Mishra had, during his speech at the party’s 97th Foundation Day, said that while the Left Front needed to be strengthened, there was a need to unite all secular and democratic forces against the “present Fascist rule”. Speaking to The Indian Express on Monday, he said a front had never been created with Congress.
“We are not going to form an alliance with the Congress in the byelection. What the Congress will do is up to them. Our aim of removing TMC from the state and BJP from the Centre still remains and apart from elections, we are ready to form a broad platform with all secular and democratic forces including Congress,” he added.
Referring to media reports which had quoted Chowdhury as saying that while his party was yet to decide whether to pitch candidates, it would ensure that neither BJP nor TMC would benefit, senior CPM leader Rabin Deb said, “It was a good gesture on behalf of Congress, but at the moment, Left unity is priority.”
Party insiders however said that an informal understanding between Congress and CPM was inevitable.
“Leaders and workers of both parties have realised that it would be nearly impossible to defeat the TMC fighting alone and since the CPM has an obligation towards other Left Front members, they can’t come out in the open for the alliance,” a source said.
Chowdhury, however, said, “I had admitted that we had entered into an alliance with the CPM. Have I said that the alliance has been snapped? We had joined hands during the last Assembly elections and it has only been four months since then.”
“Whether we will pitch candidates or not will be decided in a meeting of the party’s state election committee, either on October 23 or 24. Our suggestions will be sent to the All India Congress Committee (AICC), which will take the final decision,” he added.