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Left, Congress Begin Seat Sharing Talks in West Bengal

Two more rounds of talks likely this month; focus on ‘fittest’ candidates to defeat, TMC and BJP

CPIM COngress West Bengal

Kolkata: The Left front and Congress on Sunday began seat sharing talks amongst themselves for the impending West Bengal Assembly elections.

The initial discussions went well, said Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury and Left Front Chairman Biman Basu at a press conference in Kolkata.

The Congress-Left ‘secular electoral platform’ has been formed after a series of joint programmes and movements, Basu said.

Chowdhury said during Sunday’s talks, there was total convergence of views and hinted and two more rounds of discussions this month to clinch the seat sharing arrangement.

According to sources report who wished not to be named, Congress has sought 130 seats on which the Left Front leaders did not comment. Rather, the Left Front leaders harped on discussions to find out the fittest candidates for each Assembly segment on behalf of the electoral alliance, the source added.

Among those who took part in Sunday’s talks were Communist party of India (Marxist) state secretary, Surjyakanta Mishra, CPI state secretary Swapan Banerjee, Revolutionary Socialist Party general secretary Manoj Bhattacharya, Forward Bloc chairman Naren Chattopadhyay.

From the Congress, those who participated in the talks, apart from Chowshury, were former PCC chief MP Pradip Bhattachary, Leader of the Opposition Abdul Mannan and Nepal Mahato.

 “We want to put an end to the communal binary of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and TMC (Trinamool Congress) and it should be kept in mind that it was TMC who had invited BJP to West Bengal and later had indulged in dividing the Congress for its gain”, Basu said.

When asked that whether there was a chance of a Mahagathbandhan like Bihar between the Left, Congress and TMC, Basu, while negating this proposition, accused TMC of playing second fiddle to BJP to give rise a binary.

It may be recalled that the Left parties in West Bengal have been in a loose platform with the Congress since the past one year and even the 2016 Assembly elections had been fought on a hurriedly constructed electoral plank.

However, this time, joint movements have been conducted in the state. For instance, In the last two Bharat Bandh calls by Central trade unions, both the Left organisations and the Congress joined in.

In the last Assembly election, Congress won 44 seats out of 92 seats contested while the Left parties won 32 seats fighting in the rest 202 seats. This year, the Congress has been focussing on retaining quality seats, according to reports, while the Left Front leaders are focussing on fittest candidates to take  on BJP and TMC in each of the 294 seats.

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