The CPI(M) and the Congress have inched closer to seal a pre-poll alliance ahead of the assembly elections with an internal report of the Left party claiming joint agitations of the two parties are getting good response from grassroots workers.
The observation left the leaders of both the parties upbeat as in the 2016 assembly polls the alliance failed to make any impact since the district-level leaders and workers did not wholeheartedly endorse the tie-up.
The proposed alliance failed to materialise in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as the two parties failed to reach an agreement on the seat-sharing deal due to unwillingness of most local units to give up seats to the alliance partner.
To avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, CPI(M) West Bengal secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra on Saturday directed all the district units to send a list of winnable candidates by this month to enable the party’s state leadership to initiate seat-sharing discussions with the Congress well in advance, party sources said.
Mishra gave the directive after the report based on feedbacks from the districts made a strong case for an alliance, stating that the joint agitations of the two parties against the contentious farm laws enacted by the Centre and “growing atrocities” against women in the state in particular and the country in general got “huge response.”
The two parties have been jointly holding a series of such protests across the state over the past one month.
Congress’s state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed the alliance would be a “game changer” in the 2021 assembly elections.
Since taking over charge of the state unit, Chowdhury has been insisting that the present political understanding between the left parties and the Congress should be converted into an electoral alliance.
The CPI(M) state leadership was also keen on a tie-up with the Congress to put up a joint fight against the Trinamool Congress and the BJP. “But for us, feedbacks of the district units were crucial as in our party grassroots workers have a very strong say on policy matters,” said a CPI(M) leader, who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Stating that the alliance is now almost a reality, he said, the challenge would be to translate the crowds coming to the joint programs into votes. For that, the party needs to revive its booth-level organisations, which appears to be a tough task at present.
CPI(M) insiders admit that the party is failing to attract young people needed to galvanise its rusted poll-machinery. Most of the party’s state leaders are above 60.
This concern was manifested when Mishra, at a virtual meeting of the party on Sunday evening, stressed on the need to promote the youth in leadership roles.
Even the Congress is an ageing party in the state, thus denying the proposed alliance the much needed youth power to take on the might of the TMC and the BJP.