The CPI state leadership on Sunday said that they are willing to enter into a seat-sharing understanding with the Congress in the state for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Speaking to reporters, CPI state secretary Swapan Banerjee, however, clarified that having agreeing to seat-sharing does not mean there would be an electoral alliance with the Congress.
“In 2016 Assembly polls, the CPM forced us to enter into an unofficial electoral understanding with the Congress. This was done against our wishes. We don’t want to forge an alliance with the Congress but we are ready to enter into seat-sharing agreement with them. Our party is doing the same in Telangana and this can be replicated in West Bengal as well,” Banerjee said at a press conference. The Congress in its last state committee meeting had decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls on its own. However, the party did acknowledge the fact that its workers across the state had favoured having an alliance with the Left than with the TMC.
On October 29, CPM state secretary Surjyakanta Mishra had also asked his party workers to vote for Congress in places where the Congress is the only alternative to BJP and also extended his party’s support to Congress in its fight against TMC and BJP in West Bengal.
Reacting to the CPI’s decision, Congress leader Riju Ghoshal said the party will decide whether to accept their proposal. “The state leadership has changed recently and the new leadership will take a call on it. However, our party workers across the state wants to have an alliance with the Left Front. It is also the directive of our party president Rahul Gandhi to listen to our workers while taking a decision on such issues,” Ghoshal said.
Meanwhile, Banerjee said that they have decided not to accept TMC’s invitation asking its leadership to attend its January 19 brigade rally.
“The TMC sent the invite to our central leadership which forwarded it to us. We had a discussion on it at our state council meeting and have decided not to accept it. Therefore, we will not attend the rally,” said the CPI leader.