KOLKATA: Congress president Sonia Gandhi has asked leaders of the party's West Bengal unit to conduct joint movement with the Left Front against the ruling TMC and BJP, senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan said on Friday.
Mannan had met Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi twice on Thursday evening and discussed the political situation in the state.
According to Congress sources, Gandhi's go-ahead to the Congress-LF alliance is politically significant given the fact that the party is losing ground and Bengal is fast turning into a BJP stronghold.
"We discussed the political situation with Sonia Gandhiji and she has asked us to conduct joint movements with the Left Front in order to build a public opinion about the proposed LF-Congress alliance in the state. She asked us to conduct joint movements with Left Front against Trinamool Congress and BJP in the state," Mannan said.
"During the meeting she told me that had the Left and Congress alliance been intact after the 2016 assembly polls, the political situation in Bengal could have been different and BJP would have never gained ground in the state," Mannan, who is also the leader of opposition in West Bengal assembly, said.
During a meeting with West Bengal PCC president Somen Mitra in August, Gandhi had given her nod to the proposed Congress-Left Front alliance in West Bengal for the upcoming assembly by-polls in the state in view of the party's dismal performance in the Lok Sabha polls.
The leaderships of West Bengal Congress and the CPI(M) had recently sealed a seat adjustment for the upcoming bypolls in three assembly seats in the state to stop the march of the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress.
It was decided that Congress will contest the Kaliaganj seat in North Dinajpur district and Kharagpur in West Midnapore district, while the CPIM)-led Left Front will contest the Karimpur seat in Nadia district.
The Kaliaganj seat fell vacant after the death of sitting Congress MLA Parmathanath Roy, while the election to Kharagpur seat is being held as its MLA Dilip Ghosh, the state BJP chief, is now an MP after winning the Medinipur Lok Sabha seat.
Karimpur MLA Mahua Moitra of TMC had won the Krishnnanagar Lok Sabha seat.
The Congress and the CPI(M) had come together for the 2016 Assembly polls but had failed to impact TMC's performance.
Their attempts to seal a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha elections this time failed after they could not agree to a seat-sharing formula.
Both the parties performed poorly with the Congress winning just two seats and losing security deposits in 38 constituencies.
The Left Front, on the other hand, failed to even open its account and lost security deposits in all the 39 constituencies which it contested.
The BJP in an impressive performance won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats, only four less than TMC's score of 22 seats.
Buoyed by its acheivement, the saffron party is targeting to unseat the TMC from power in the 2021 assembly elections.