Cong, Left run into bump on road to 2021 poll alliance – Times of India

Kolkata News

Kolkata: Rivals for decades, Congress and Left have got the hiccups ahead of a bumpy road to seat adjustments for the 2021 assembly polls though their leaders, pushed to the margins, are under compulsion to cobble together a platform in an attempt to break the Trinamool-BJP binary in Bengal.
The discomfort found an expression in the Congress-Left meeting held at RSP office at Kranti Press on October 23, Saptami. Party seniors in the presence of West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Adhir Chowdhury and Left Front chairman Biman Bose couldn’t draw up a common political declaration, not to speak of announcing joint programmes. Both Congress and Left have decided to continue with independent programmes till December.
While Left Front and Congress seniors are hopeful the glitches will ease with time, the Congress hesitation in writing a joint declaration as the first step to make the ‘jote’ viable among voters, points to something fundamental. Those present at the meeting said Chowdhury was eager for the “Congress-Communist” tie-up but was not keen to take on Trinamool and BJP in the same breath.
Chowdhury instead wanted the ‘jote’ to put the main thrust against Trinamool and leave it to the Congress high command to take on BJP. Left Front leaders, on the other hand, wouldn’t budge from their announced anti-Trinamool, anti-BJP stance in Bengal though some Left seniors such as Sujan Chakraborty were yet to achieve the “correct mix” of opposing the “two evils”.
The Pradesh Congress president has already set aside the Left proposal to give a joint call in support of the November 26 strike in Bengal. He has also parted ways with the Left over drawing up a resolution welcoming the Calcutta High Court order on Durga Puja restrictions during the pandemic.
A look at the assembly segment-wise results under the Baharampur constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls provides a clue to Chowdhury’s stance. Congress votes have eroded by 5.07% in the constituency while Trinamool has recorded an upswing of 19.61%. The figures indicate that TMC is fast catching up with Congress in its bastion.
Five assembly segments having huge Muslim presence — Beldanga, Bharatpur, Rejinagar, Burwan and Naoda — went with TMC. Chowdhury won the race because the Left didn’t field a candidate and the BJP nominee wasn’t a heavyweight. The case is the opposite in Jadavpur assembly seat, where BJP is emerging as a force to reckon with. Sujan Chakraborty has to protect the anti-Trinamool votes from going to BJP.
According to Front insiders, the picture will be clear when the 16 parties meet in November to chart out the roadmap. Rumour mills are abuzz that a few among the 16 parties may burn bridges with Congress-Left and go with Trinamool.