(Eds: Adds details) Kolkata, Jan 25 (PTI) The Congress and the Left parties on Monday decided that in the upcoming West Bengal assembly elections, they will contest the seats they had won respectively in the 2016 polls while talks will continue for the remaining constituencies.
The Left-Congress alliance in 2016 had won 77 seats, out of which the Congress had emerged victorious in 44.
'Today we have decided that we will keep the respective 44 and 33 seats that the Congress and the Left had won in 2016. On the remaining 217 seats, the talks are on,' senior Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya said at a joint press conference.
He expressed hope that the seat-sharing arrangement will be completed by the end of this month.
West Bengal Left Front Chairman and CPI(M) Politburo member Biman Bose, who was present at a meeting in which the decision was taken, said that discussions were also held on joint campaigning.
According to sources in the Left parties and the Congress sources, the decision on 77 seats has come as a relief for both sides as discussions on certain constituencies are in a deadlock situation.
'Now the parleys on the remaining 217 seats will be based on who was in the second or third position and vote share the party had secured,' a senior Left leader said.
A senior Congress functionary said that the party, taking a cue from its performance in the recent Bihar polls where it bagged 18 out of the 70 seats it contested, has decided to focus on seats where it has good presence and a considerable vote-share.
'We won't go for number of seats. Rather we would go for winnability of seats' he said.
In 2016, The Congress and Left Front had fought together and bagged 77 seats in the 294-member assembly. The alliance broke after the CPI(M)-led Left Front walked away.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the proposed Congress-CPI(M) alliance fell apart after the parties were unable to reach an agreement on seat sharing.
After the dismal performance of the Congress, which bagged only two Lok Sabha seats and the CPI(M), which failed to open its account, the parties decided to come together to fight the 2021 assembly polls.
Elections to the state assembly are likely to be held in April-May this year. PTI PNT NN NN