Kolkata: Senior leaders of the Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left Front on Sunday, met and held discussions on seat sharing and other poll-related preparations, sources in two camps said. On Saturday, Congress had deputed four of its leaders, Abdul Mannan, Pradeep Bhattacharya, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Nepal Mahata to hold talks with the Left leaders.
Both the Congress and Left leaders clarified that they would meet again on January 25 and 28 to settle the seat-sharing issue and other poll-related preparedness.
Post meeting, Left Front Chairman and CPI-M politburo member Biman Bose said that their discussion with the Congress was cordial and fruitful.
"To defeat the communal force BJP and the fascist TMC (Trinamool Congress), the Congress-Left parties' alliance is must. The alliance would definitely thrash the binary rule in Bengal," the veteran Left leader told the media.
Bose said that leaders and workers of Left parties and Congress should fight against the BJP and the TMC with shoulder to shoulder.
Party sources said that the Congress wanted to contest in 130 seats but the Left leaders did not concede the demand.
Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury said that the seat sharing with the Left parties would not be completed in a single meeting, however, the seat sharing process would be concluded within this month.
Echoing him, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said the two parties will hold more such discussions before they arrive at a decision on seat-sharing.
"We have agreed to contest the polls together. We had a positive discussion... and there is no disagreement..." Chowdhury, who is also the Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha further said.
Among others, CPI-M state secretary Suryakanta Mishra, Congress leaders Abdul Mannan and Pradip Bhattacharjee were present at the meeting.The Left and Congress parties are likely to hold a mega joint rally in Kolkata soon to kick start their election campaign.
During the 2016 state elections, too, the two parties had stitched an alliance and bagged 76 of the 294 assembly seats. The Congress contested 92 seats in the previous elections, when the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress had swept 211 out of 290 seats, whereas the Congress got 44, Left 24 and the BJP 3 seats.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the picture was again very different when the Trinamool got 22 seats, the BJP 18 and the Congress just 2 seats while the Left Front dominated by the CPI-M, which ruled Bengal for 34 years (1977-2011), drew a blank. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Trinamool had secured 34 out of 42 seats, but the BJP was able to increase its vote percentage to 17 per cent.
However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Left and Congress had fought separately with the Congress won two seats.
The all important elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly are likely to be held in April-May along with Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.In the 2016 West Bengal polls,.