The Indian National Congress on Sunday called off the seat-sharing talks with the Left Front, clearing the way for a four-cornered contest in West Bengal. The West Bengal unit of the party on Sunday called off the talks with the CPI(M)-led Left Front for Lok Sabha polls, drawing to a close week of hectic parleys that failed to resolve the impasse over the distribution of seats.
The Congress was reportedly miffed with the CPI(M) announcing the list of its 25 candidates in the state and had expressed the party’s displeasure over the Left Front not respecting the rules of the alliance. The Left Front announced its first list of candidates on Friday leaving 17 constituencies for the Congress.
West Bengal, which sends 42 members to Lok Sabha, will now witness a four-cornered contest between the Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Left Front and the Congress.
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West Bengal becomes a new addition to the list of states where Congress failed to clinch a seat-sharing deal to take on the BJP. In Telangana, it continued to face desertions as one more MLA and a party functionary announced their decision to leave and join the ruling TRS. This is the eighth MLA to shift loyalty to the Congress, which had won 19 seats in the December 7 elections to the 119-member Telangana Assembly.
According to news agency PTI, CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra said he will not make any comment until and unless he gets to know anything official from the Congress. The Left Front has called a meeting Monday to decide its next course of action.
A section of the Congress leadership felt insulted over the Left Front unilaterally announcing its list when the talks were on between both the parties, party sources said. The Left Front in its list announced Congress leader Rezaul Karim’s, chairman of the state medical cell of the party, from Birbhum Lok Sabha seat.
The Left’s candidate list mentions Karim as their candidate from Birbhum but did not mention which party he represents.
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According to sources, the state Congress is not happy with the seats that were left for the party. Since the beginning of seat-sharing talks between both the parties, there have been several issues which had cropped up time and again.
Initially, the impasse over Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha seats were resolved after the intervention of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
The Congress later decided to leave those two seats for the CPI(M) as it had won those two seats last time.