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This time, ‘an alliance of the heart’: Backs to the wall, Left, Congress close ranks down to grassroots in Bengal

On a hot day early this month, at Nabagram’s CPI(M) area committee office in the Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district, local party leader Sanjib Pandey went into a huddle with the Congress’s block president, Dhirendranath Yadav, and its anchal chief Sujoy Ghosh to discuss their poll strategies. Outside, the flags of both the parties fluttered in the summer wind.

The three leaders said in unison later how both the CPI(M)-led Left and the Congress in Bengal are fighting the ongoing Lok Sabha elections with their backs to the wall as their alliance takes on the ruling Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the principal Opposition BJP.

From sharing party offices and WhatsApp groups to forming coordination committees – from the district level to booths – and holding joint rallies, the Left and Congress are going all out to ensure that their alliance is viable, and may help kickstart their revival in the state.

This is evident across the state, from the Maldaha region in North Bengal to the crucial belts of Murshidabad, Birbhum and Kolkata in South Bengal.

As part of their seat-sharing agreement, out of the state’s 42 constituencies, the Congress is fighting 12 seats while the Left is contesting 30. Both allies are however also having “friendly fights” in two constituencies, Purulia and Cooch Behar.

In the Jangipur seat, which went to polls in the third phase on May 7, the leaders and workers of both camps rallied round Congress candidate Mortaja Hossain, who is pitted against incumbent TMC MP Khalilur Rahaman. “I have forgotten I am a CPI(M) leader and Dhirendranath has forgotten that he is a Congress leader. We both are now ‘jot karmis (alliance workers)’. For both the parties, this may

Read more on indianexpress.com