"We are now preparing to contest the Lok Sabha polls alone in the state. The CPI(M) and Left Front seem to be adamant on some of the seats. The talks don't appear to be moving forward. So it's better to contest alone," a senior state Congress leader privy to the development said Tuesday.
Miffed by the “adamant” attitude of the CPI(M)-led Left Front, the Congress is likely to go it alone in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha polls. The Congress will take a final call on the matter in a meeting of its Election Committee slated to be held Wednesday, state Congress leaders said. According to party sources, the Congress has already sought bio-data of prospective candidates for all the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
“We are now preparing to contest the Lok Sabha polls alone in the state. The CPI(M) and Left Front seem to be adamant on some of the seats. The talks don’t appear to be moving forward. So it’s better to contest alone,” a senior state Congress leader privy to the development said Tuesday. The development comes a day after the CPI(M) manged to bring along two of its allies – the RSP and the CPI – on board on forging an alliance with the Congress in the state. However, another Left Front constituent Forward Bloc is not ready to toe the line, as the party is keen on contesting Purulia, Coochbehar and Barasat Lok Sabha seats in which the Congress also wants field its candidates.
“Apart from the three seats, Raiganj and Murshidabad seats continue to be the bone of contention. Plus, we want to contest at least 18 seats. But the CPI(M) is ready to give us only 12. So it’s better to go it alone,” another senior state Congress leader said. 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 pockets of the Congress in the state. The Left Front, which has to distribute seats among its constituents, is keen on fielding candidates in at least 31-32 seats. The Congress had won four seats in 2014 general election. Of the four winners, Mausam Benazir Noor, the MP from Malda North, defected to the ruling Trinamool Congress in January.