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Corruption charges dogging TMC bring Left, Cong closer in Bengal

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Kolkata, Jul 17 (IANS): Will the Congress and the Left Front led by the CPI(M) have some kind of understanding for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls? Some recent initiatives by the leaders of both the forces like a joint movement against the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress state government has evoked the possibilities of a long-term Congress-Left Front arrangement in West Bengal.

Massive irregularities and scam in the teachers’ recruitment at all levels is an issue on which both the Congress and the CPI(M) want to start a joint movement in the state. The proposal was mooted by state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

“We want the Leftist parties to organize a mass movement throughout the state in association with us. A joint movement on this count is absolutely necessary to give it the shape of a nationwide mass movement,” Chowdhury said.

CPI(M) state secretary and party politburo member Md Salim did not delay in reacting. According to him, although protests against the teachers’ recruitment irregularities are taking place in different parts of the state, the movements was highly unorganised and scattered.

“There have been massive irregularities in recruitment for the West Bengal School Service Commission, West Bengal Board of Primary Education and West Bengal Public Service Commission. There is an urgent necessity of bringing this fragmented movements under one umbrella and for that purpose we welcome the proposal for a Congress-Left Front joint movement on this issue,” Salim said.

However, both Salim and Chowdhury do not view this joint movement initiative as a foundation for greater election arrangements in the long term.

According to Salim, they are giving calls to all political forces, who are against both the BJP and the Trinamool Congress. There is no reason to see a larger political equation behind this joint movement initiative, Salim said. Chowdhury also stated that a long term political equation is not a matter of thought at this moment since a lot of time is left for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

According to political analyst Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay mooting the joint movement is the best political decision that can be taken by the Congress and the Left Front to regain strength in the state considering that both forces have been reduced to zero in the assembly. “The BJP could not hold on or accelerate whatever successes it got in the state, be it in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections or the 2021 West Bengal elections just because they could not organize mass movements on these burning issues of corruption. The BJP just depended on giving firebrand media bytes on the basis of the activities of the central agencies which are conducting probes into these issues. Now, whether this joint movement will result in a greater understanding between the Left Front and the Congress will depend on how far this initiative receives mass support,” he said.

Another political analyst, S Sanyal does not see the probability of a Left Front-Congress seat sharing arrangement for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. “First in the 2016 West Bengal assembly elections Congress and Left Front had a seat sharing agreement. Though the Congress slightly benefitted from that agreement, the Left Front was shocked. Although committed Left Front voters backed the Congress candidates, the reverse trend did not happen. In the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections, the Congress, Left Front and the All India Secular Front had a seat sharing agreement. While the AISF finished with winning a seat, Congress and the Left Front were reduced to zero. So, the past statistics do not really advocate a seat sharing agreement in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

 




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