CPI(M)-Congress alliance talks in Bengal hit cul-de-sac as Left declares candidates for 2 seats

Kolkata, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 13 March 2019, 02:44 PM
Sitaram Yechury and Rahul Gandhi (File Photo)
Sitaram Yechury and Rahul Gandhi (File Photo)

The seat-sharing talks between the CPI(M) and the Congress hit a roadblock on Friday after the Left Front announced candidates for the Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha seats.

Miffed over the CPI(M)'s unilateral announcement, Congress'Bengal unit chief Somen Mitra accused the Left Front of not being keen on having an alliance.

"It seems that the Left Front is not keen on having an alliance with the Congress. The Left Front won't be able to win a single seat without the help of Congress in the state. But Congress would be able to retain its four seats," Mitra told reporters late in the night after an urgent meeting with state leaders.

"If needed we will fight alone in the state. We have our list of 42 candidates ready. We wanted an alliance till 2021 assembly polls so that our alliance or understanding gets acceptability from the masses. But the CPI(M) is more keen on short term political gains and doesn't want any long-term adjustment," he said. 

Earlier in the day, Biman Bose, chairman of the CPI(M)-led Left Front, announced that the current MPs in the two seats -- Mohammed Salim from Raiganj and Badaruddoza Khan from Murshidabad -- would contest. 

The announcement not only led to breakdown in the seat-sharing discussions between the two sides, but also paves way for a four-cornered contest in the state in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The development came at a time when Congress president Rahul Gandhi had asked his party's in-charge of West Bengal, Gaurav Gogoi, to speak to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury in order to resolve the impasse over seat-sharing.

Gandhi had also met the state Congress chief to discuss the matter. The state Congress had requested Gandhi to take a call on the matter.

The CPI(M)'s central committee on Monday came out with a proposal of "no mutual contest" in the Lok Sabha polls in the six seats held by the two parties in the state.

It was seen as a move to untangle the seat-sharing skein between the two parties, aimed at consolidating the anti-BJP and anti-TMC votes.

While the Congress had bagged four seats in the state in 2014, the Left party had won only Raiganj and Murshidabad.

The seats, won by the CPI(M) by a slender margin in a four-cornered contest, are known to be Congress bastions.

While North Dinajpur's Raiganj has been a pocket borough of Congress stalwart Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, Murshidabad's politics has been dominated by the party's firebrand leader Adhir Chowdhury, who is also a vociferous supporter of the alliance with the Left.

First Published: Friday, March 08, 2019 11:21 PM
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