The low-key announcement of the alliance — it will look to consolidate the anti-TMC, anti-BJP votes — flows from the political contradiction that Congress and Left are principal rivals in Kerala, which goes to polls alongside Bengal. Any hype on the issue could be a red flag for the Kerala units of the two parties, especially CPM.
Congress and the Left had jointly contested the 2016 Bengal assembly polls before the latter forced a break-up.
PCC president and MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury took to Twitter to announce the tie-up in Bengal, which was expected as the two sides had been jointly undertaking programmes in the state for some time. Local Congress functionaries had spoken of the need to formalise the alliance during a virtual interaction with Rahul Gandhi and AICC state in-charge Jitin Prasada last month.
With BJP seeking to build on its Lok Sabha gains and go for the jugular this time, the state’s non-BJP opposition appears to have already fallen behind. Congress has been blaming the Left brass for the so-called secular opposition’s failure to stop Trinamool from taking over its turf and sitting back when BJP entered the fray to try and grab that space from Mamata’s party.
With a nationally ascendant BJP pushing its case in the 2019 LS polls, a big chunk of Left voters shifted to the saffron camp, triggering a tectonic shift in state politics.
Now, it appears a Herculean task for the Congress-Left combination to make a serious difference. But Congress leaders argue that clever seat-distribution and an effective localised campaign can produce good results.
By the looks of it, the Congress-Left alliance would hope for a hung House, where its tally can deny BJP and TMC a shot at power.
AICC’s state in-charge Jitin Prasada said, “Congress will fight with all its might to protect the culture and heritage of Bengal, which is under threat from the divisive policies of BJP and political violence of TMC.”