Left Front Looks For Tie With Congress

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Kolkata: CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday reiterated the need for unity among all secular and democratic forces to combat the BJP-RSS combine, the repeated stress underscoring his attempt to garner support for a pre-poll truck with the Congress.

Earlier this month, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury had floated the idea of an Independent candidate, who would also be supported by the Left Front, for the biennial polls to the upper House. Speaking to newspersons, state Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said it would back the candidate provided he has a time-tested anti-BJP and anti-Trinamool Congress stand.

“Our stand is we will try for a consensus Independent candidate. If we find him acceptable, we will support,” said Mishra. “But the prime prerequisite is he should have a time-tested ant-BJP and anti-Trinamool stand, one who cannot be purchased.” Asked if his party wants the Independent candidate of its choice, or would back one selected by the Congress, Mishra said: “This can be decided through discussions and exchange of views. This is not a problem.”

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Election for the five Rajya Sabha seats in Bengal, four of which are presently held by the Trinamool Congress, would be held on March 23. The fifth seat is currently held by the CPI-M. While the Trinamool is set to re-elect four of its members, the opposition can win one seat. But with the reduced strength of the Left Front in the assembly, the CPI-M is not in a position to send its candidate to the upper House of Parliament on its own. It has to fall back on the Congress to get its candidate elected. The Congress and the LF had tied up for the 2016 Bengal Assembly polls, but were comprehensively defeated by the Trinamool.

Surjya Kanta Mishra said the CPM had agreed to support an Independent fifth candidate for the ensuing Rajya Sabha polls. Asked who would choose the independent candidate – the Congress or the CPM, the state secretary said: “Talks are on with the Congress but we are yet to arrive on a consensus over the candidate.”

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