February 17, 2021 2:14:37 am
The Congress and the Left Front on Tuesday finalised an alliance with Furfura Sharif cleric Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui’s Indian Secular Force (ISF), setting the stage for a three-cornered contest in the West Bengal Assembly elections.
Following a meeting with the Left at the state headquarters of the CPI(M), West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury announced that besides the ISF, the RJD and the NCP would also be part of the Congress-Left alliance.
“There have been several political developments since we held meetings. Secular parties like the ISF, the RJD and the NCP expressed the desire to be a part of the Congress-Left alliance. Today, we had a very cordial meeting and we have finalised the alliance. We respect these secular parties, therefore we are keeping some seats for these parties. It is the reason we are not announcing the final number of seats for each parties today. We will announce that later,” Chowdhury, who is also the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, told reporters.
Chowdhury said the TMC did not want the alliance to materialise because it wanted to avoid a three-cornered contest in the elections. “The TMC never wanted Congres and Left Front to form an alliance. There was a narrative earlier that Bengal polls will be a two-way fight between the TMC and the BJP. Now, there is a three-way fight in Bengal between BJP, TMC and Congress-Left alliance,” said Chowdhury.
Left Front chairperson Biman Bose, who was also present at the press conference, said, “Now, the ISF has also been included in the alliance. We will hold a mega public rally at Brigade parade ground on February 28.”
Earlier, the Congress and the Left Front had held two rounds of meetings about their seat-sharing agreement 193 of the 294 Assembly seats. Of the 193 seats, the Left Front had agreed to contest 101 seats, with 92 constituencies for the Congress. In the 2016 Assembly polls, the Left and Congress had entered an electoral understanding and bagged 76 seats.
According to sources, the ISF has demanded 65-70 seats from the Left Front and the Congress.
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