CPI(M) Keeps Door Open For Seat-Sharing In Bengal

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Kolkata: Notwithstanding the Congress’ ultimatum to take a call on a tie-up within Sunday, the CPI(M) leadership in West Bengal decided on Thursday to keep the door open for seat-sharing with the Congress and urged them not to make any decision in haste.

During its state committee meeting that continued till late in the night, the CPI(M) decided that in order to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress in the state, steps would be taken for maximum pooling of anti-BJP and anti-TMC votes.

At the closed-door meet, CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra said the party would take steps that is needed to defeat the BJP and the TMC in Bengal in the elections.

The development comes a day after the state Congress said there would be no seat-sharing with the CPI(M) by compromising the party’s dignity and gave an ultimatum to the Left Front to take a call on the tie-up by Sunday.

“It has been decided that the Congress would be asked not to act in haste, rather they should give time to discussions. It is not possible to take a call by Sunday as, from March 3, our two-day central committee meeting is slated to begin. All issues can be solved through discussions,” a CPI(M) state committee member said.

State Congress sources spoke on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday, said it had been decided that the chairman of the state co-ordination committee, Pradip Bhattacharya, and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Abdul Mannan would speak to the CPI(M) on the issue of seat-sharing and the matter should to sorted out by March 3.

“We can’t wait till eternity for the CPI(M). They have our list of seats. Now, it is for them to take a call on the matter on what they want. We will not compromise with our dignity for the sake of seat-sharing. We have our list of 42 candidates prepared,” a senior state Congress leader had said.

The state Congress, apart from Raiganj and Murshidabad seats, is keen on fighting in at least 15 other constituencies, which includes Purulia.

Represented by the CPI(M), Raiganj and Murshidabad are the only two Lok Sabha seats that the Left has in West Bengal, its erstwhile stronghold.

These two places, however, are known as pocket borough of the Congress. The Purulia Lok Sabha seat is presently with the TMC.

Raiganj, which was a pocket borough of Congress stalwart Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, went to the CPI(M)’s Mohammad Salim in 2014. He defeated Priya Ranjan’s wife and Congress nominee Deepa Dasmunshi by less than 2,000 votes.

Murshidabad was bagged by Badarroza Khan of the CPI(M), who defeated Congress’ Abdul Mannan Hossain by about 18,000 votes.

Hossain had triumphed on this seat in 2009, trouncing the CPI(M)’s Anisur Rahman.

Left Front constituent Forward Bloc is not ready to share the Purulia seat with Congress, as they have been fighting from that constituency for the last several decades.