September 13, 2023
NEW DELHI – “The course of action about arrangements as far as seat-sharing and other issues are concerned will be gradually decided upon,” Congress’ Bengal President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told The Statesman in an interview to this correspondent. “It has to be discussed both at the state and the national level and after a thorough review of the ground realities, a consensus would be worked on,” he added.
One of the most contentious issues regarding the I.N.D.I.A (Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance) has been how the Opposition alliance would play out in the state of West Bengal. The Congress and The Communist Party of India (Marxists), who are traditional political rivals of ruling Trinamool and have contested elections together against the grassroots party now find themselves in an situation in which they would have to concede seats in the upcoming Parliamentary elections next year. The question that has been on everyone’s mind is how many seats are the Communists and Congress are willing to concede to the Trinamool when the time comes.
Interestingly, tomorrow on September 13, the first meeting of the Coordination Committee, the core decision makers of the I.N.D.I.A alliance, is scheduled to take place in Delhi. Trinamool’s all-India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, who is also the Diamond Harbour Member of Parliament, has been inducted into the coordination committee but tomorrow’s date clashes with a summons he has received from the Enforcement Director for questioning in an educational recruitment irregularities case. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee too would be away as she has left for a trip abroad to attract investors.
According to CPIM, there ought to have been better coordination within the party to ensure that there is the presence of the party during the coordination committee meeting. “With only a few months to go before the Parliamentary elections, we need to now work out the modalities and there is no time to waste,” CPIM leader Sujan Chakraborty told The Statesman in an interview to this correspondent. “The lack of proper representation of all the parties in the Opposition alliance during the coordination committee meeting would mean that the issues of concern would not get properly discussed. This is directly going to benefit the party which we are trying to defeat, the Bharatiya Janata Party.” The CPIM in Bengal has accused the Trinamool and the BJP time and again of helping each other out, whether advertently or inadvertently in elections, a charge which both parties deny vehemently.
“It is the CPIM and Congress which is openly siding with their chief political rival, the Trinamool by being part of the same alliance which is trying hard to defeat us,” says a BJP leader of the Bengal South 24 Paraganas District.
Clearly, at the state level, the differences between CPIM, Congress and Trinamool would take time to iron out. What transpires at tomorrow’s meeting of the coordination committee is to be looked at.