CPI(M), Congress to prepare Common Minimum Programme against BJP, TMC in Bengal

Kolkata, Jun 24 (PTI) The Congress' West Bengal unit and the Left Front on Wednesday decided to prepare a 'common minimum programme', based on which they would launch a joint fight against the BJP and the TMC in the state ahead of next year's assembly polls.

The Congress and the Left Front, after their dismal performance in the Lok Sabha polls last year, had decided to fight as an alliance in Bengal.

They on Wednesday evening held their first meeting to decide their strategy for next year's assembly polls. The meeting lasted for more than four hours.

Sources said that the Congress and the Left Front have decided that on June 29, they will take out a rally in Kolkata against fuel price hike by the Centre.

'We have decided to prepare a common minimum programme, based on which the joint movement or political programmes would be undertaken. It won't be a one-sided affair. It would be a both-way thing,' Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra said.

The way the BJP is gaining ground in the state, it is imperative that the CPI(M) and the Congress join hands to stop the march of 'the communal forces', he said.

The development comes in the backdrop of the BJP making deep inroads in Bengal and placing itself as the main challenger of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) by pushing the traditional Congress and Left Front to distant third and fourth positions respectively.

The BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections had bagged 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, only four short of the TMC.

The TMC's tally has come down from 34 in 2014 to 22 Lok Sabha seats in 2019.

The CPI(M)-led Left Front drew a blank, and the Congress tally came down from four to two in Bengal.

The CPI(M) and the Congress had allied in Bengal in the 2016 assembly polls, but it failed to evoke much impact.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the proposed Congress-CPI(M) alliance fell apart after both the parties were unable to reach an agreement on the seat-sharing deal. PTI PNT DIV ANB ANB