West Bengal: Congress-CPM seat sharing talks reach impasse over Lok Sabha seats in Raiganj and Murshidabad

The Raiganj and Murshidabad parliamentary seats are held by the CPM. These are the only two seats that the Left has in West Bengal, its erstwhile stronghold.

Press Trust of India February 21, 2019 12:11:45 IST
West Bengal: Congress-CPM seat sharing talks reach impasse over Lok Sabha seats in Raiganj and Murshidabad
  • The Congress' Bengal unit is miffed with the CPM as both the parties are keen on contesting Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha constituencies

  • Raiganj and Murshidabad are currently under the CPM, and are the only two seats that the Left has in West Bengal, its erstwhile stronghold

  • The Congress wants to contest around 20 of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats, and the Left Front, at least 26-28 seats

Kolkata: The Congress' Bengal unit is miffed with Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) as both the parties are keen on contesting Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha constituencies, leading to an impasse in seat-sharing talks between them.

West Bengal CongressCPM seat sharing talks reach impasse over Lok Sabha seats in Raiganj and Murshidabad

Representational image. Agencies

The Raiganj and Murshidabad parliamentary seats are held by the CPM. These are the only two seats that the Left has in West Bengal, its erstwhile stronghold.

A senior Congress leader said, "We want to contest in those two seats. Raiganj and Murshidabad have always been a stronghold of the Congress. The CPM won them in 2014 due to a four-cornered contest." The CPM has to be practical and need to understand that it can't win these two seats without the support of the Congress. The political situation has changed a lot since 2014, another Congress leader said.

The CPM, on the other hand, does not want to relinquish the seats and Mohammed Salim and Badaruddoza Khan, its MPs from Raiganj and Murshidabad, are keen on contesting the seats this time too. "These two are our seats. If we let go these seats it will have a negative impact on the morale of party cadres," a senior CPM leader said.

Congress leader Pardip Bhattacharya and Abdul Mannan last week held few round of talks with CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty and Rabin Deb for seat sharing. According to Congress sources, state unit president Somen Mitra and CPM state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra will sit for talks within the next week.

Mitra sounded hopeful on the matter and said it's too early to comment.

The Congress, sources said, wants to contest around 20 of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats, and the Left Front, which has to distribute seats among its constituents, is keen on fielding candidates in at least 26-28 seats.

The Congress won four seats in 2014. Mausam Benazir Noor, the Congress MP from Malda, defected to the TMC in January.

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