Left parties and the Congress on Thursday agreed on seat sharing in almost two thirds of the Assembly seats in West Bengal — 193 of the 294 seats — that will go to polls. Of the 193 seats, the Congress will contest in 92 and the Left in 101 seats.

State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Leader of the Left Front Biman Basu held a joint press conference at Bidhan Bhawan, the headquarters of West Bengal Congress, announcing the seat sharing arrangement. Both expressed confidence that the seat sharing would be completed in next few days.

Sources said both the parties were trying to ensure a seamless seat sharing in all the 294 seats and there is no friendly contest in any seat. The Left parties and the Congress had come together and forged electoral understanding in the 2016 Assembly polls and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, on both occasions, there were few seats where the parties had put up nominees and called it a “friendly contest.”

Speaking to journalists, Mr. Chowdhury said the biggest danger before the people of the West Bengal was the poison of communalism and both the BJP and the Trinamool Congress were responsible for it.

In 2016, the Left parties had contested in about 200 seats while the Congress contested in nearly 90 seats. The seat sharing agreement for the 2021 Assembly polls so far suggests that the Congress may end up contesting in 120 to 130 seats while the Left parties in 160 to 170 seats. The development indicates that the Left parties are relatively losing their bargaining power. Though both the parties have been witnessing a decrease in vote percentage, the Congress has shown relatively better chances of winning than the Left parties.

Joint rally

After the seat sharing agreement is arrived at in next few days both the Left parties and the Congress will hold a joint rally at Brigade parade ground on February 28.

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