CPI-M announces candidates in two seats unilaterally days after Congress refused to leave those

Following a day-long meeting of the Left Front in Kolkata on Friday, Communist Party of India-Marxist [CPI-M] unilaterally declared names of two candidates in two north Bengal Lok Sabha seats. The seats are Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur and Murshidabad in Murshidabad district. While Left Front won both seats in 2014, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee is reluctant to concede any of the two seats. Congress and the Left Front are having rounds of discussion at the moment regarding sharing of seats in West Bengal.

Left Front Chairperson Biman Bose said that CPI-M and other constituents of the Front have unanimously decided to contest in both the seats of north Bengal. Following the announcement Mr Bose said that the winners of 2014 Lok Sabha poll “Md Salim in Raiganj and Badaruddoza Khan in Murshidabad” will contest. He added, Left Front is leaving four seats to the Congress. “These are the ones won by Congress in 2014, two in Malda district and two other seats of Murshidabad district, Jangipur and Baharampur,” he added.

While Congress may not have a big issue in leaving Murshidabad, as its runner up candidate Mannan Hossain left Congress to join Trinamool Congress [TMC] and then passed away, the Raiganj seat belongs to late leader Priya Ranjan Dashmunshi’s family. Mr Dasmunshi’s wife Dipa bagged the seat in 2009 but defeated by Mr Salim in 2014. Realising that it is a non-negotiable seat, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Somendra Nath Mitra told The Hindu earlier the week that they are “not willing to give up either Raiganj or Murshidabad seat.”

However, Mr Bose indicated that if Congress refuses to give up the seats then CPI-M too may initiate a different plan. “If this message [that we are giving now] does not enter their ear, we will take a separate decision.” While he did not say if the “separate decision” would entail collapse of a possible seat sharing adjustment or nominating candidates in four seats won by Congress in 2014, he indicated that party is in no mood to “negotiate” in Raiganj and Murshidabad. Mr Bose also said that they “expect” Congress to leave seats to Left Front allies as well.

“We will leave three to Revolutionary Socialist Party [RSP] and expect Congress to do so as well,” he said.

Congress insiders, however, said that the seat sharing understanding between Congress and the Left Front will “materialize.” “Since it is a matter of one or two seats, out of 42, I am sure it will work out,” a senior Congress leader said.

Forging an informal alliance, Left Front and Congress got nearly 40% votes and 76 seats in 2016. “Key question, however, is if we will be able to jointly get as much vote and seats with the rise of the BJP this time,” the Congress leader said.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 2:49:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/cpi-m-announces-candidates-in-two-seats-unilaterally-days-after-congress-refused-to-leave-those/article26476016.ece

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