This was decided at a meeting of PCC chiefs and legislative party leaders from across the states, with Rahul Gandhi and central party leaders Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal, on Saturday morning. At the meeting where organizational reports from the states were discussed, the central leadership has also told the PCC leaders that AICC will not impose candidates and that states will have to draw up the list of ticket seekers and get it approved by the central party at the earliest, according to sources.
That would mean that Congress and CPM and other Left parties in West Bengal, will decide among themselves at the state level, on whether to go in for an understanding or tie-up for the state where both parties are faced by a strong opposition from the ruling Trinamool Congress under chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The Bengal Congress unit was represented by CLP leader Abdul Mannan and PCC chief Somen Mitra.
While TMC is an important component of the anti-BJP opposition platform along with Congress, at the national level, the state Congress unit in Bengal is unlikely to align with TMC as Banerjee has been proposing going it alone in the state for a long time.
In fact, the TMC chief was the first one to propose to the then Congress chief, Sonia Gandhi more than a year ago that, the alignment of opposition parties with Congress should be done with state-specific focus. This would allow whichever party is strong in a particular state to take on BJP to ensure votes are not split into too many factions.
With Rahul Gandhi having asked Congress leaders in states to decide on the most winnable formula in their respective states, he may be following the same formula that was suggested by Banerjee earlier.
In Karnataka for instance, where Congress is a partner in the coalition government led by JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, the two allies will have to resolve the seat sharing formula at the state level, going by the ground situation.