New Delhi, Feb 5 — The Congress on Friday said any talks with other parties will only be considered after the seat sharing agreement with the Left parties is finalised.
Party’s West Bengal in-charge Jitin Prasada said, “Now the talks with the Left party is ongoing and after the seat sharing agreement with them is finalised, any further alliance will only be considered after that if needed.”
Congress leader Abdul Mannan, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Bengal Assembly and member of alliance committee, has written a letter to Sonia Gandhi, seeking permission to form an alliance with Furfura Serif cleric Abbas Siddiqui’s newly floated political party Indian Secular Front.
Abdul Mannan in the letter pointed out that minority voters have shifted away from the Congress which was evident from the last parliamentary election in 2019 and the Congress has been uprooted from all the Muslim-dominated Assembly constituencies of districts such as Malda, Murshidabad and Uttar Dinajpur.
Mannan in his letter claimed that inclusion of the Indian Secular Front in the Congress-Left alliance will be a game-changer in the upcoming polls, scheduled in a couple of months.
Abbas Siddiqui, the Pirzada of Furfura Sharif, had been vocal against the ruling Trinamool Congress alleging that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had done nothing for the Muslims of West Bengal.
Siddiqui, while Floating his party, had said that he wants to be the ‘kingmaker’ in Bengal. “We had formed this party to ensure that constitutional democracy is protected, everybody gets social justice and all of us live with dignity.”
The Congress has missed the seat sharing deadline, which was January 31. The party is now pressing its state unit to finalise the seat sharing agreement so that the preparations for the elections could be started immediately.
The Congress has authorised the state alliance committee headed by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for the purpose.
The Congress in West Bengal is engaged in seat sharing talks with the Left parties for the upcoming polls. Sources privy to the talks on the seat sharing agreement said that the Congress’ main focus will be on quality of seats and not quantity of seats, unlike in Bihar where the party contested too many seats but won only 19.
The Congress has set up a committee to chalk out a seat sharing agreement with the Left parties, which includes Chowdhury, Abdul Mannan, Pradeep Bhattacharya and Nepal Mahato.
The committee has identified the strong seats and is talking to the Left with all the prospects on the table. One of the panel members said, “We are focusing on the strong seats only.”
Congress sources said that the results of the Bihar Assembly polls will not have a bearing on West Bengal as every state is different. In the 2016 Assembly elections, the Left had contested more seats but it was the Congress which came second with 44 seats.