The Congress and Left parties in West Bengal will take out a march in Kolkata on November 23 in a show of unity ahead of all-India protests against the farm bills as well as assembly elections that they will be fighting together.
At a meeting of top Left leaders and the Congress in Kolkata today, CPM Politburo member Biman Bose said the fight would be fought not just against the BJP but also against the Trinamool Congress.
“The BJP is our main enemy,” Mr Bose said. “But the party that got the BJP to Bengal – the Trinamool Congress. There is still an understanding between them. Given the raids going on (into cow smuggling and coal mafia), who knows what will happen.”
Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: “Across Bengal, there is Didi (Mamata Banerjee). Across India, there is (PM) Modi. So why are there attempts to break the Congress-Left jote (union) Because the jote will have a huge impact in the polls and they are scared.”
In 2019, the Left and Congress had a seat adjustment in just three seats. It was the fallout of a seat adjustment experiment in the 2016 assembly polls when the Congress benefitted winning 44 out of 93 seats it contested while the Left just won in 32 out of 200 contested seats.
“But all that is in the past. We are going forward this time as a Left and Congress Mahagathbandhan and will take all secular, socialist parties with us,” said Riju Ghoshal, member of the Alliance Coordination Committee.
Instead of just seat adjustment, the two partners are likely to campaign together. “It’s a grassroots movement this time,” Mr Ghoshal said.
Both parties will march in central Kolkata on Monday to protest against the Centre’s farm bills. It will be a curtain-raiser to nationwide protests by farmer groups across the country planned on November 26.