The West Bengal unit of the Congress has announced that it will contest the upcoming bypolls to one Assembly and two parliamentary seats alone, indicating that the six-month-old alliance with the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left front has come to an end. State Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (pictured above) on Monday, however, blamed the CPI(M) for deciding to part ways by "unilaterally" declaring its candidates for the election.
Chowdhury told PTI, "As soon as the bypolls were announced, the Left Front announced their candidates. Since they did so without any discussions with us, we take it that they want to contest alone." He said the state Congress had prepared our list of candidates and sent it to the All India Congress Committee for approval.
Chowdhury, however, did not say that the split was final. "Politics is a dynamic phenomenon. There is no reason to believe that the relationship has ended. There will be polls in the future and we might once again contest the elections together," he said. Another senior Congress leader, Om Prakash Mishra, reiterated Chowdhury and told The Indian Express that there could be a tie-up with the Left again in future. “Even if we don’t have a political understanding for the bypolls, we will continue with our cooperation and coalition on other issues."
The three seats that will go to bypolls on November 19 are the Monteswar Assembly seat in Burdwan and the Lok Sabha seats of Tamluk in Purba Medinipur and Cooch Behar. While the Cooch Behar and Monteswar seats fell vacant after deaths of Trinamool Congress MP Renuka Sinha and MLA Sajal Panja, the bypoll to the Tamluk seat was necessitated after TMC legislator Suvendu Adhikari won the Nandigram Assembly seat and became a state minister.
The Left Front had declared its candidates for all three constituencies last week when the state Congress was still deciding on names. The two parties had agreed to form an alliance on a seat-sharing basis before the Assembly elections held in April this year.