Left Front to wait till Tuesday for a pro-alliance word from Congress
With the Congress calling off seat-sharing talks with the Left Front for Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, the CPI(M)-led grouping on Monday said it will till tomorrow for a pro-alliance statement from the Congress. "We hope wisdom would prevail and the Congress would realise how important it is to ensure maximum pooling of anti-TMC and anti-BJP votes in the state," Left Front chairman Biman Bose said.
The Left Front will hold a meeting Tuesday to decide its next course of action, Bose told reporters. However, in a late-night development, sources said general secretary of CPI(M) Sitaram Yechury has spoken to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to resolve the situation.
After weeks of parleys failed to resolve the impasse over the distribution of seats, the West Bengal unit of the Congress on Sunday called off the talks, saying it did not want any alliance by compromising the party's dignity. The Left Front will wait and see whether the Congress announces candidates for Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha seats which the Left had won in the 2014 elections, a senior leader of the Left Front said.
"If the Congress announces candidates in those two seats, we will also declare our nominees in seats that it had won (in 2014). Congress should realise how important it is to have a seat-sharing deal," the Left leader said.
A section of the Congress leadership felt insulted by the Left Front unilaterally announcing its list for 25 seats last week when the talks were on between both the parties, Congress sources said.
The Left Front in its list announced Congress leader Rezaul Karim's name from Lok Sabha seat. The list mentioned Karim as candidate from Birbhum but did not say which party he represents.
"How can it decide who will be our candidate? Our medical cell chairman's name was declared as their Birbhum candidate without taking permission from our side. This is absurd. So what's the use of negotiations if Left Front declares candidates on our behalf?" state Congress chief Somen Mitra asked.
On this issue, Bose said, "Karim is neither an activist of the Left Front nor of the Congress. We have given him a nomination as he has been at the forefront of agitation by doctors."
The Left Front announced its first list of candidates for 25 seats in West Bengal for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls Friday leaving 17 constituencies for the Congress.
According to sources, the Congress is not happy with the seats that were left for the party by the Front. Since the beginning of seat-sharing talks between both them, several issues have cropped up time and again.
Initially, the impasse over Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha seats were resolved after the intervention of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
The Congress later decided to leave those two seats for the CPI(M) as it had won those two seats last time.
In the 42-member assembly, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has 34 MPs followed by the Congress with four. The BJP and the CPI(M) each have two members in the house.
The state will go to polls in seven phases from April 11.