With the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal apparently gravitating towards each other for a pre-poll understanding in Bihar, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is negotiating possibility of seat adjustments with the Janata Dal (United) in the State.

The CPI(M), according to general secretary Prakash Karat, has identified the seats it would like to contest in Bihar but has not taken a final call in view of the possibility of an agreement with the JD(U).

However, Uttar Pradesh – from where the Samajwadi Party is seen to be a key constituent of a possible non-Congress non-BJP post-poll alternative -- features among the list of States where the party’s Polit Bureau on Wednesday approved seats to be contested.

In all, the Polit Bureau approved 35 seats to be contested across eight States. These are mainly States where the CPI(M) has only a marginal presence. Besides Uttar Pradesh, these States include Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra.

As with Bihar, the party has identified seats to be contested by the Left parties in Orissa but is awaiting a green signal from the State unit on a seat adjustment with the Biju Janata Dal. Likewise for Tamil Nadu and Assam from where the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Asom Gana Parishad respectively have shared the anti-communalism platform with the Left parties on October 30 last.

Like all parties, the CPI(M) is also trying to work through the maze that Andhra politics has become following the decision to bifurcate the State.

As for key States like Kerala and West Bengal – where the CPI(M) has a strong presence despite electoral setbacks in recent years in the latter – the seats will have to be decided with the other Left parties it has traditionally been in alliance with. Similar is the case in Karnataka where it has been in alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) of former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda.

A final picture will emerge at the next meeting of the Central Committee in the beginning of March when the party also hopes to give final shape to its election manifesto. As of now, the Left parties have ruled out the possibility of a common manifesto or a national-level pre-poll alliance and are also wary of calling the alternative they hope to put up post-poll as the ``third front.’.

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