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CPI(M) offers no-contest to Congress

The CPI(M) has proposed a formula of “no mutual contest” to the Congress in six Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal now held by the two parties.

These seats are Baharampur, Jangipur, Maldaha Uttar and Dakshin held by the Congress and Raiganj and Murshidabad held by the CPI(M). The party’s earlier position was not to have any understanding with the Congress.

The no-truck stand was backed by the Kerala unit of the party. The issue was also a rallying point against general secretary Sitaram Yechury ahead of his election in April last year.

Mr. Yechury said that in West Bengal the party’s strategy is aimed at maximisation of the pooling of anti-BJP and anti-TMC votes.

“In accordance with this, the CPI(M) proposes no mutual contest in the present six sitting Lok Sabha seats, currently held by the Congress and the Left Front. In the rest of the seats (36), the Left Front in Bengal will decide on March 8,” Mr. Yechury said.

The proposal was cleared by an “overwhelming majority” in the two-day meeting of the party’s Central Committee on Monday.

The Congress has staked a claim on Raiganj because it won the seat in 2009, 2004 and 1999. And even in 2014, Congress leader Deepa Das Munshi lost the seat by only 1,634 votes to CPI(M)’s Mohd Salim.

“The question is not who won by what vote margin. The situation in the last five years has changed and thus the tactics have also to change,” Mr. Yechury said.

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