West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Congress-Left alliance and the BJP in the fray.  |  Photo Credit: PTI
Kolkata: A fierce political battle is raging in West Bengal in the run-up to the Assembly elections as the state is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), Congress-Left alliance and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the fray. The election to the 294-member state Assembly will be held in eight phases starting from March 27, with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
TMC, headed by two-time Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is striving hard to score a hat-trick and the saffron party is also leaving no stone unturned to make sure the lotus blooms in the state. At the same time, the Congress-Left alliance is also trying to gain a foothold in the Assembly by presenting itself as the secular option for the voters of West Bengal. In the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections, the TMC had won 211 seats, the Congress-Left alliance had bagged 77 seats and the BJP 3.
As the preparations for the first phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections are in full swing, let's take a look at the key political parties and their allies:
The stakes are high for the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is seeking a third term, amid an intense face-off with the BJP. TMC has fielded candidates in 291 constituencies out of the total 294 while the remaining three seats in Darjeeling have been given to its ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
In the 2016 West Bengal Assembly election, the TMC had won 211 seats. However, its current tally in the outgoing Assembly is in the 190s with over a dozen sitting MLAs having switched sides, mostly to the saffron party. In the 2019 general elections, the TMC managed to grab just 22 seats, down from its previous 34.
The Congress party is fighting the Assembly polls in alliance with the CPM-led Left Front, which also includes Furfura Sharif cleric Abbas Siddiqui's ISF. It is fielding candidates in 92 of the total 294 Assembly seats. The alliance is being seen as a shot in the arm for the Congress-Left alliance, which got only 13 per cent of the votes and two seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
With the ISF’s support, the parties hope to win back some of the lost ground.