Congress-Trinamool pact in Bengal, finally

Both parties have reached a broad consensus to fight together against the CPM

Akash Bisht Hardnews/Delhi

After several rounds of negotiations, the Congress finally accepted the Trinamool Congress' seat-sharing formula on Thursday and thereby proved to its partymen that it was serious about taking on the communists. The Congress gets to contest 14 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, while the Trinamool gets the remaining 28.

Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had run the government with the support of the communists before they parted ways over signing the civilian nuclear deal with United States of America. For quite some time Congress was ambivalent about seriously fighting elections in West Bengal as it believed that it may need the help of the communists again to form the government at the centre if its alliance failed to get a majority.

Addressing the media, senior Congress leader Kesava Rao said that the alliance has been finalised. He announced the 14 seats in which the Congress will put up a candidate. An agreement is likely to be in place soon. He said, "Both Trinamool and Congress have reached a broad consensus to defeat dogmatic forces in West Bengal. Our focus is the one with a human face." While announcing the names, he mentioned that both parties have a larger perspective to fight together against CPM's economic policies.

On being asked why he was shying away from calling it an alliance, Rao told media that they could use whatever term they liked. But, he saw it as a great friendship capable of defeating the CPM. Would Trinamool be part of the UPA? Though Rao evaded an answer, Congress spokesperson, Manish Tewari said that they formed alliances with like-minded parties and were confident of forming a government at the Centre.

About the Third Front, Tewari said, "The Third Front is a mirage of Indian politics and a ghost that shows up every 2-3 years... The history of Indian politics suggests that the Third Front usually benefits the communal forces and several incidents in the past have proved that. We want to appeal to the people of India that they should not be misguided by the Third Front."

Congress leadership,Hardnews learns, is not really averse to the formation of the third front. " They are doing our job of weaning away allies of the BJP. Atleast one thing is assured that there would not be a communal government at the centre", says a senior Congress leader.