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Rahul Gandhi Holds Left Front-Congress Alliance Talks Ahead of 2021 Bengal Polls on Seat-sharing

File photo of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

File photo of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

During the meeting, the entire state Congress leadership favoured the partys alliance with the Left, but opinions of senior members differed over seat-sharing.

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday held a virtual meeting with Bengal unit leaders and discussed various aspects of the party's alliance with the Left Front for 2021 Assembly elections. According to the state Congress leadership, Gandhi enquired about the seat-sharing deal between the two parties.

During the meeting, the entire state Congress leadership favoured the partys alliance with the Left, but opinions of senior members differed over seat-sharing. Some members said that the party should take a cue from the just-concluded polls in Bihar, where it managed to win only 19 out of the 70 seats it contested, before arriving at any decision.

We have told Rahul Gandhi ji that the entire state unit is keen on forging an alliance with the Left, but seat- sharing talks were yet to start. The Left-Congress alliance in Bengal is the best possible option for defeating the TMC and the BJP," a senior party leader said.

Another leader, who was also a part of the meeting, said, "Some were of the opinion that the party had contested 92 seats during the 2016 polls, and the number shouldn't go down this time. Others said it would be wise to concentrate on areas where the party has a significant support base." Both Gandhi and general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal gave the state unit leaders a patient hearing, and gave assurances that they would apprise party president Sonia Gandhi about the development, he added.

In 2016, both the Left and the grand old party had fought together and bagged 76 seats in the 294-member assembly. The CPI(M)-led Left Front later walked out of the alliance. During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the two sides failed to reach an agreement on seat sharing.

After their dismal performance last year, with the Congress bagging two Lok Sabha seats and the CPI(M) drawing a blank, the two sides have now decided to stitch an alliance again for 2021 polls, likely to be held in April-May.


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