Hiccups in Congress-CPI(M) alliance in West Bengal

Hiccups in Congress-CPI(M) alliance in West Bengal

This comes hours after state Congress president Somen Mitra and chairman of the state coordination committee Pradip Bhattacharya met Gandhi in New Delhi and discussed the issue, among other matters. (PTI File Photo)

After ruling out an alliance with the AAP in Delhi, Congress' attempts to enter into an alliance with the CPM in West Bengal hit a roadblock as it insisted on putting up candidates on two of its strongholds which it narrowly lost to the Left party in the last Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress leaders from West Bengal on Wednesday told party chief Rahul Gandhi that it would not give up two key Lok Sabha seats— Murshidabad and Raiganj, currently held by the CPM.

The Left party is not keen to leave the seats, leading to an impasse on the coalition talks.

West Bengal Congress President Somen Mitra and senior leader Pradip Bhattacharya told Rahul that they would like to have an open alliance with a joint campaign with the CPM as against an undeclared understanding that was reached at for the 2016 Assembly elections.

Rahul told the state leaders that he would speak to CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury about their views and convey his decision after Mitra claimed that the Congress can win the two seats even in a four cornered contest.

The state leaders also ruled out any truck with the Trinamool Congress.

CPM's Mohd Salim had won the Raiganj Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 1,634 votes against Deepa Dasmunsi of the Congress.

The seat has been a traditional Congress stronghold and was earlier represented by late Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi.

“Our main hurdle is Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha seats. I have told Rahul Gandhi that he will have to take a call on the issue. But we are confident of winning the two seats. He will inform us about his decision soon,” Mitra told DH.

In Kolkata, AICC in-charge of West Bengal Gaurav Gogoi said that no decision would be taken bypassing the state leadership.

The Congress had bagged four seats in West Bengal in the 2014 general elections, while the CPM had won only Raiganj and Murshidabad. Of the four Congress Lok Sabha members from the state, Mausam Noor (Malda Uttar) joined the Trinamool Congress in January.

On Tuesday, the Congress ruled out an alliance with AAP in Delhi for the Lok Sabha polls, as suggested by NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

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