The prospect of the proposed alliance between the CPI(M)-led Left Front and Congress in West Bengal for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections seemed bleak with the Left Front announcing candidates for the Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha seats on Friday.
These two seats won by CPI(M) in the last Lok Sabha elections in 2014 have become the bone of contention between CPI(M) and Congress as the latter is also determined in fielding candidates for them. However, the CPI(M) Central Committee had earlier proposed that there should be no mutual contest between the Left Front and Congress in the six seats, two won by CPI(M) and four by Congress which the two parties won in the last Lok Sabha elections.
“The Left Front has unanimously decided that we want to defeat the communal BJP government at the Centre and the democracy- murdering Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Bengal and maximise the pooling of anti-BJP and anti-TMC votes. On the basis of this, we are announcing that Md. Salim in Raiganj and Badaruddoza Khan in Murshidabad will be the Left Front nominated CPI(M) candidates,” said Left Front Chairperson and senior CPI(M) leader Biman Basu.
Salim is the sitting CPI(M) in Raiganj and Khan is the sitting CPI(M) MP in Murshidabad.
Basu also indicated that if Congress does not field candidates in the Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha seats then the Left Front will also not field candidates in the four seats won by Congress in Bengal in the last Lok Sabha elections.
“ Our message is that we want to maximise the pooling of anti-BJP and anti-TMC votes in Bengal and for that purpose most probably we will not field candidates in the four seats won by Congress last time,” said Basu. Congress won the Berhampore, Jangipur, Malda South and Malda North Lok Sabha seats in 2014.
Basu indicated that if Congress fields candidates for the Raiganj and Murshidabad seats then Left Front will also field candidates in the four seats won by Congress in Bengal last time.
“ If we get any such information we will hold another Left Front meeting and take a different decision,” said Basu.
As for the other Left Front allies-CPI, Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP)- Basu said that they are likely to contest three seats each. He also said that if Congress does not field candidates in Raiganj and Murshidabad then RSP will not field a candidate in Berhampore, the seat currently held by former state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.