BJP to put up candidates to split anti-Left vote Away from its attacks on the Congress in Parliament, the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is looking to tie a strange knot with the Left in West Bengal and Kerala to enable a Congress defeat. The basic idea is to field as many candidates as possible from Kerala and West Bengal in the May assembly elections. West Bengal has 294 seats and BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley has said his party would put up candidates in all of them. Kerala has 140 seats. It would take a tidal wave of Biblical proportions for the BJP to win a meaningful number of seats in both states, which traditionally vote the Congress and the Left by turns. But the BJP loves to try its hand. The BJPâ€™s theory is something like this. West Bengal and Kerala are two crucial states going into elections in May. The ruling Left is likely to lose both to the Congress. That would give the Congress a fillip at the Centre. The rightist vote in West Bengal and Kerala would go to the Congress if there are no BJP candidates. So, the BJP must split the anti-Left vote so the Congress weakens, however slightly. This is not the first time the BJP is considering such a plan. It always does it and gets barely anything in return. For instance, the BJP has no seats in the outgoing West Bengal assembly. The CPM has 173, the Forward Bloc 23, the RSP 20, the CPI 9, the WBSP 4, the RJD 1, and the DSP(P) 1, making it 233/294 for the Left Front. The Trinamool Congress, which is leading the charge against the CPM, has 29. Its alliance partner the JKP(N) has one. The Congress has 21, the GNLF 3 and Independents 6. In Kerala, the CPM has 61, CPI 17, JD(S) 5, KEC 4, LDF 4, RSP 3, KCS 1, NCP 1, INL 1, and C(S) 1, making it 98/140 for the Left. The Congress has 24, KEC(M) 7, MUL 7, KEC(B) 1, JPSS 1, UDF 1, and the DIC 1, making it 42/140 for the Congress-led front. The RSS has a sizeable base in Kerala and its cadres are always engaged in clashes with the Left cadres, but the BJP leaders have approached the RSS leadership to ensure these fights are put on hold and RSS cadres help in defeating the Congress. The other states going to polls in May are Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry. The Congress is banking on retaining Assam and is riding on the back of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. In Tamil Nadu, the prognosis isnâ€™t good for the DMK-Congress alliance, which is stuck in chaotic negotiations over seat sharing. The state has 234 seats. The DMK-led front has 163, of which the DMK has 96, Congress 34, PMK 18, CPM 9 and CPI 6. The AIADMK-led front has 69, of which the AIADMK has 61, MDMK 6 and the VCK 2. Independents have 1 and the DMDK has 1. The Congress started with a demand for 90 seats in Tamil Nadu and has come down to 65 at the time of writing. The DMK says it can offer 60. Negotiations are on in New Delhi to resolve this. The BJP is working on some sort of an understanding with the AIADMK if a formal alliance is not possible. The Congress is not shut to the idea of an alliance with the AIADMK. However, it needs to be cleared at the level of the Congress president. The only state where the BJP will contest with full might is Assam where it wants to take advantage of the space vacated by the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), once a potent force.