Shiv Sena is expected to contest 100 seats in the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections this summer.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party is likely to field candidates in Assembly segments falling under Hooghly, Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Medinipur, Dumdum, Barrackpore, Bankura, Purulia, Bishnupur, Jhargram and some other areas.
It is being learnt that Maharashtra chief minister and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is likely to visit the later the poll-bound state in few weeks. Meanwhile, Sena MP Anil Desai, who is also the party general secretary, will be visiting West Bengal on January 29 and interact with the party members to chalk out the final strategy.
Sena had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Bengal, however, at that point of time, it was part of the NDA and in alliance with the BJP. However, the decades-long alliance partners parted ways following the Maharashtra Assembly polls 2019 after both the parties failed to reach an agreement over the chief minister issue.
Times Now reported that Sena is likely to contest on 100 Assembly segments. It confirmed that Desai would be touring the state on January 29. Reports suggest that Sena is also having talks with smaller parties with similar ideologies to forge a pre-poll alliance.
Notably, the main battle in the West Bengal polls will be fought between Mamata Banerjee-headed Trinamool Congress and the resurgent BJP.
Sena’s entry into the Bengal political arena may hamper BJP’s prospects as both the parties vouch for being the torchbearer of Hindutva politics.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the Left Front are having talks in regards to seat-sharing for the upcoming Bengal elections. The grand old party has set up a panel headed by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to hold talks with the Left parties.
“The committee will hold talks with the Left parties regarding seat-sharing and joint programmes for the West Bengal polls,” a statement from Congress’ state in-charge Jitin Prasada said.
Besides Chowdhury, Congress Legislature Party leader Abdul Mannan, former state chief Pradeep Bhattacharya and Nepal Mahato are the members of the panel.
Both Left and Congress announced to contest the West Bengal Assembly elections in December 2019. The West Bengal polls are due by March-April this year.