Alleging that the TMC and the BJP are busy in "ego battles", Congress' West Bengal in-charge Jitin Prasada on Sunday said the Congress-Left alliance for the upcoming assembly polls presents to the people an alternative that is committed to bread and butter issues and fighting for the identity of Bengal.
He said the Congress is focused on sealing the seat-sharing arrangement with the Left parties "as soon as possible" and asserted that the panel formed to hold talks on it would focus on the "quality" of seats that the party gets to fight.
In an interview with PTI, Mr Prasada said that while the state unit and the All India Congress Committee (AICC) were working closely, there will be no "back seat driving" from Delhi and whatever is in the best interest of the party will be done taking all stakeholders into confidence.
The AICC in-charge of West Bengal said there was a demand from the state leaders for Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to extensively campaign in the West Bengal Assembly polls and asserted that when the opportune time comes the top leadership will campaign.
Asked about seat-sharing with the Left, Mr Prasada said, "The seat-sharing process and talks are on which we plan to close as soon as possible and we should be having our candidates in place well ahead of time so that we can focus on the seats that the party is fighting on."
"We are very interested that this seat-sharing is finalised so that we can concentrate on joint programmes which will lead to vote transfer more easily," the former Union minister said.
On when seat-sharing talks are expected to be closed, Mr Prasada said a senior level committee headed by state unit president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury with Congress Legislature Party leader Abdul Mannan, former state chief Pradeep Bhattacharya and Nepal Mahato as its members is working on it.
"This committee which is in place is very equipped in terms of expertise and knowledge and they will take a decision (on seat- sharing) looking at not only the number but the quality of seats that we are going to be fighting," the 47-year-old leader said.
Accusing the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of not focusing on people's issues, Mr Prasada said this election in Bengal should have been about the performance of the BJP-led central government and what it has done for Bengal, as well as about the report card of the TMC, but sadly it has been about "ego battles".
The benefit of a lot of schemes has not been passed on to the people because of the Centre-state conflict, he said and cited that the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme were not reaching the people in West Bengal.