West Bengal Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said on Thursday that his party wants to forge a pre-poll alliance with the Left Front for the 2021 Assembly elections, PTI reported. He said the Congress and Left parties will together put up a “spirited battle” against the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Trinamool Congress.

He claimed that the “secular ideals” of the Congress will ultimately defeat the “communal rhetoric” of the BJP and Trinamool Congress. “All secular people must come together under the Congress umbrella as it has never compromised its secular principles,” Chowdhury said, according to NDTV. “That is the historic truth today, yesterday and tomorrow. The political unity between the Congress and the Left should be turned into electoral unity to give the Trinamool a powerful fight.”

The Congress and the Left Front contested the 2016 Assembly elections together. However, of the 294 seats, the Congress won just 44, and the parties constituting the Left Front 32. The Trinamool Congress emerged victorious with 211 seats, and the BJP finished with just three.

But the BJP ridiculed Chowdhury’s proposal for a Congress-Left alliance. “Workers of both parties know the Congress-Left deal will not work,” BJP leader Dilip Ghosh said. “That’s why they left their parties and joined us last time. It will happen again this time.”