West Bengal elections: Congress spells it out for ally Left, ‘In our interest to fight 2019, BJP together’https://indianexpress.com/article/elections-2016/india/india-news-india/west-bengal-assembly-elections-2016-congress-spells-it-out-for-ally-left-in-our-interest-to-fight-2019-bjp-together-2808019/

West Bengal elections: Congress spells it out for ally Left, ‘In our interest to fight 2019, BJP together’

Moves beyond Trinamool as target.

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A Trinamool Congress worker cleans a hoarding during decoration of the party office in Kolkata on Tuesday ahead of West Bengal Assembly Polls results. (Source: PTI)

Despite exit polls predicting Trinamool Congress’s return to power in West Bengal, Congress’s central and state leaders are hopeful that their historical tie-up with the Left Front for this assembly elections will flourish to find more substance in the future.

While AICC general secretary and West Bengal in-charge C P Joshi and senior leader Jagdish Tytler remain tight-lipped on the exit polls and the tie-up, former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said it would be in the interest of the two parties to “look at” the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

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“In my view, both the parties (Congress and Left) would secure more seats than what they would fighting on their own,” Aiyar told The Indian Express. Asked if the tie-up could have been announced a little earlier, he said, “I don’t like to cry over spilt milk. At the moment, it is only an electoral understanding and I think it should continue to transform into an alliance because the primary task is to hold the BJP back in the 2019 general election.”

The Congress’s central leadership had thought long and hard before it gave in to the wishes of its Bengal unit and made a formal announcement about the tie-up just weeks before the polling began.

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State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury too predicted a bright future for the alliance and brushed aside all predictions of the exit polls.

“We have seen the alliance surge in spite of all the speculations. And the exit polls are nothing but a bunch of cock and bull stories. Elections were held under an environment of terror. Do you think people who have voted against the ruling party would admit it before the media?

“The ruling party has developed some beneficiary vote banks who would vote for them regardless. But a vast majority saw through the tricks of the present government. We have laid the foundation this year and on this we will build our castle for the 2019 elections,” Chowdhury said.

Manas Bhunia, the party’s former Bengal chief, refused to comment on the predictions but said that the alliance was the result of efforts by the senior leaders of the two parties and that he would abide by whatever decision these leaders take in the future.

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The party’s candidate from Bidhannagar, Arunava Ghosh said that the alliance “wasn’t just a decision of a handful of senior leaders”. “It (the alliance) became possible because of the pressure at the ground level,” he said, and hoped that the two parties would fight the next Lok Sabha election “together” as Left and Congress would form “a very strong Opposition” and fight the BJP better.