Bengal unit of Congress confused over seat-sharing

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on March 12, 2019

(L-R) West Bengal Congress President Somen Mitra, Former Congress state unit president Adhir Chowdhury

The CPI(M) and the Congress are unlikely to fight each other in the six of the 42 seats of West Bengal as of now. While the All Indian Congress Committee (AICC) is said to have given the green signal for “seat arrangements” with the CPI-M here, the State unit remains confused.

The confusion arises on Raiganj and Murshidabad seats, which both the parties want to contest.

The CPM had, in the 2014 general elections, bagged the two seats from the Congress and has nominated winning MPs Mohammad Salim and Badruddoza Khan as its candidates. The Congress’ State unit, on the other hand, said these two seats are a part of its traditional stronghold and claims that it has gained the lost ground here.

In 2014, the Congress had won Malda North, Malda South, Behrampore and Jangipur seats from Bengal.

There will be “no mutual contest” on these six seats, the Central Committee of the CPI(M) had previously said.

Goodwill gesture

According to a senior Congress leader, the AICC, as a “goodwill gesture”, has decided not to field candidates from these two contentious seats. The decision has also been communicated to the State leadership.

“Probably, an agreement has been reached (on Raiganj and Murshidabad). It is the high command’s decision and I am not a part of it,” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former Congress president of the State unit told BusinessLine.

Chowdhury, an MP from Berhampore, has been the party’s leader in the Murshidabad district, one of the last remaining strongholds of the party here. Uttar Dinajpur and Malda are the other two.

The West Bengal State leadership of the Congress is disappointed.

Chowdhury and the State unit President Somen Mitra had met AICC President Rahul Gandhi to apprise him of the ground realities.

When contacted, Mitra said: “I have come to know that the Congress will not contest in Raiganj and Murshidabad. I will try and speak to the AICC President on the matter,” he said.

According to the sources, the Congress is likely to contest 17 of the 42 seats from Bengal. The CPI(M) and other Left Front parties may contest the remaining 25.

Published on March 11, 2019

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