Left-Congress-ISF grand alliance in Bengal shows signs of cracks

The grand alliance of the Left parties, the Congress and the Indian Secular Front (ISF) on Sunday showed signs of cracks even before a final seat adjustment has been sealed.

At the rally here, the differences came out in the open at least on two occasions. The first was when ISF founder and Furfura peer Abbas Siddique arrived on the stage. His supporters made a huge noise drowning PCC president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s speech. Mr. Chowdhury wanted to stop his speech mid-way but was persuaded by Left Front chairman Biman Bose to continue.

A few minutes later Mr. Siddique (34) spoke and heaped praise on the Left Front leadership but targeted the Congress saying they (ISF) are not willing to appease anyone in seat-sharing arrangement.

“The Left, understanding the mood of the people, has agreed to most of our terms and so I will tell my followers… to forget the past history and extend support wherever there is a Left candidate, so we can oust the BJP and the BJP government’s teammate Trinamool from Bengal,” said Mr. Siddique. The ISF founder said the CPI(M)-led Left Front has agreed to set aside 30 seats for the newly formed party.

Targeting the Congress, he said: “You may wonder why I did not mention Congress’s name when I pledged my support to the Left. I came here to stake my claim, not to appease anybody… If somebody wants to be my friend, the door is open and in the coming elections Siddique will fight for them. I promise that.” He said Congress president Sonia Gandhi is in the favour of the alliance but some in the State are delaying the process.

Mr. Chowdhury said the Congress does not care about Mr. Siddique’s threats. “Our seat sharing with the Left parties has not been finalised yet. It is inconclusive at that end. How can we talk about the ISF?”

After the rally, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Md. Salim said the Left was trying to smoothen out the relationship. According to sources, the Congress leadership is averse to part with seats from Malda and Murshidabad districts which are considered its bastions to accommodate the ISF in those areas.

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