Left Front, Congress draw a blank in Bengal elections

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Kolkata, May 2 (PTI) The CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress party, which ruled the state for nearly six decades between them, face an unprecedented rout in West Bengal assembly elections trailing in all 292 seats which went to polls.

An alliance with the newly-formed ISF does not seem to have helped the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress combine.

The Congress, which was the main opposition party in the outgoing assembly with 44 seats, had entered into an alliance with the Left Front in the 2016 assembly elections also.

The Left Front, which was in third position in the 2016 election results with 32 seats, had failed to win any of the 42 constituencies in West Bengal in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, while the Congress emerged victorious in two.

The CPI(M)-led LF, which ruled the state from 1977 to 2011, is staring at the bleak prospect of going unrepresented in the next West Bengal assembly.

The CPI(M) had fielded a bunch of young candidates, including JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh, Dipshita Dhar and Minakshi Mukherjee, along with veterans like politburo member Md Salim, Sujan Chakraborty and Asok Bhattacharya in a bid to appeal to both the young generation and its traditional voters.

An alliance with Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui-led ISF also did not work partly as a sizeable percentage of the Left and Congress' vote share seemed to have shifted to the TMC to counter the BJP and partly as its supporters used to secular politics did not favour an alliance with a conservative cleric.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had gained from a shift in Left votes towards its candidates, winning 18 seats.

The Congress or the Left Front are yet to come out with any statement on the trends of the election results.

The BJP, however, claimed that polarisation or not, the elections have ensured the extinction of the Left Front and the Congress in the state.

'There are talks of polarisation, but the elections have ensured that the TMC and BJP will be the two parties which will be with the people in West Bengal's politics,' BJP state vice president Jay Prakash Majumdar said. PTI AMR JRC JRC