New Delhi, Jan 4 : The Congress has set up a committee to chalk out a seat sharing agreement with Left parties for the West Bengal Assembly polls. The committee has Congress state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, CLP leader Abdul Mannan, former state chief Pradeep Bhattacharya and Nepal Mahato.
“The committee will hold talks with the Left parties regarding seat sharing and joint programmes for the West Bengal polls,” said a statement from Congress state in-charge Jitin Prasada.
The committee will work on the identification of seats and talk to the Left for a final deal while the Congress wants to contest more seats as the last time it contested around 95 seats but this time the party wants to contest on more seats.
But the result of the Bihar election may hamper the party’s prospect of getting more seats. The Congress in Bihar could not maintain the strike rate and lost crucial seats to the ruling NDA which cost the RJD alliance.
Congress sources say that Bihar results will not have a bearing in West Bengal as every state is different as in the last 2016 Assembly election the Left contested more seats but it was the Congress which came second.
The Congress and the Left face a tough challenge this time as the BJP in the last five years has placed itself as the main opposition party, winning 18 Lok Sabha seats in the state while the Left could not even open its account in the state which it once ruled for over three decades.
The 294-member West Bengal Assembly will go to the polls around May. While the Trinamool Congress has the challenge to retain power, the Congress also has to gain ground in the state. In 2016, the Congress fought in alliance with the Left parties and secured 44 seats to emerge as the second largest party. However, half of its MLAs have since joined the Trinamool.