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CP(M) brings CPI, RSP on board over seat adjustment with Cong

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Press Trust of India Kolkata
Amid the ongoing impasse with the Congress over seat sharing deal for the Lok Sabha polls, the West Bengal CPI(M) Monday manged to bring along two of its allies - the RSP and the CPI - on board on the issue.
It has been decided at a Left Front meeting that the Congress needs to leave it's claim over Raiganj and Murshidabad Lok Sabha seats presently held by the CPI(M), in order to take forward the seat sharing discussions.
At the meeting here, the CPI(M) convinced the RSP and the CPI that seat-adjustment with the Congress was a necessity, a senior CPI(M) leader said.
The meeting was convened to decide on the number of seats its allies such as the RSP, the Forward Bloc and the CPI will contest.
Till date, the CPI(M) used to contest 32 seats, the RSP four and the CPI and the Forward Bloc three seats each.
"With two Left allies on board, only the Foward Bloc is left. The party is not keen on alliance with the Congress. May be they are afraid that they might have to share with their seats. Now the ball is in court of the Congress to move things forward. But it has to leave its claim of Raiganj and Murshidabad," the senior CPI(M) leader said.
It has also been decided that the Congress has to clearly spell out whether it wants a seat sharing adjustment with the Left Front. Two seats - Raiganj and Murshidabad- cannot be a bone of contention in an alliance, he said.
It has been decided that Left allies RSP, CPI and Forward Bloc will contest in three seats each.
The number of seats CPI(M) would contest depends on the terms and conditions of seat adjustment with Congress.
Meanwhile, the Left Front is keeping a close watch on the opposition meet scheduled to be held in New Delhi on February 27.
Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to attend the meet.
"A lot will depend on what will happen at that meet. If Congress is seen cozying up with TMC nationally, it might have an adverse impact on seat adjustment in the state," a CPI(M) central committee member said.
When contacted a senior Congress, who is privy to the developments, said, "Nothing has been officially communicated to us by the Left or CPI(M). But let me make it very clear that we are prepared for any eventuality including fighting alone."

The Raiganj and Murshidabad are the only two Lok Sabha seats that the Left has in West Bengal, its erstwhile stronghold. These two places, however, are known as pockets of the Congress in the state.
Congress leader Pardip Bhattacharya and Abdul Mannan last week held a few round of talks with CPI(M) leaders Sujan Chakraborty and Rabin Deb for seat sharing.
According to Congress sources, state unit president Somen Mitra and CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra will meet on this matter soon.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury is also likely to discuss the matter with senior AICC leaders to end the impasse.
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 31-32 seats.
The Congress had won four seats in 2014. Mausam Benazir Noor, the Congress MP from Malda, defected to the TMC in January.

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First Published: Feb 25 2019 | 10:50 PM IST

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