Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 28
Moving at a steady pace, Congress party and CPI(M)-led Left Front on Thursday successfully worked out seat-sharing formula with regard to 116 more constituencies of West Bengal for the assembly elections slated to take place in the state soon.
Senior leaders of Congress and Left Front – bitter foes in the past – met at WBPCC office “Bidhan Bhavan” in Kolkata this morning for about two hours to discuss sharing of seats.
CPI(M) leader and Left Front chairman Biman Bose, CPI(M) state general secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, RSP state unit general secretary Biswanath Choudhury, Forward Bloc state committee general secretary Naren Chatterjee and CPI state secretary Swapan Banerjee took part in the meeting on behalf of the Left Front.
The Congress party was represented by WBPCC chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of Congress in West Bengal assembly Abdul Mannan and two others.
Later, addressing a press conference in the presence of Congress leaders, Biman Basu said that 68 out of the 116 seats would be contested by Left Front candidates while the remaining 48 seats would be fought by Congress nominees.
In a previous meeting, the two sides worked out allocation of 77 assembly constituencies which were different than the 116 decided upon on Thursday.
With Thursday’s decision, the number of seats with regard to which Congress and Left Front could reach an agreement rose to 193.
West Bengal Assembly has 294 seats. Leaders of Congress and Left Front said they were confident that by the end of next month they would be able to work out the allocation of seats for the remaining 101 constituencies also.
It was also announced that the allies would jointly organise a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground of Kolkata on February 28. This will be the first joint rally by Congress and CPI(M)-led front at the iconic venue.
CPI(M) and Congress had a loose arrangement regarding sharing of seats in the 2016 assembly elections. While the ruling TMC improved its tally in the polls, Congress benefited from the seat sharing arrangement as it won more seats than CPI(M).
Attempts were made by the two sides to work out a seat-sharing formula during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
However, the plan failed to materialise primarily owing to Congress leader PR Dasmunsi’s widow Deepa’s refusal to give up her claim over Raiganj seat in favour of CPI(M)’s Md Salim, who was the sitting MP from Raiganj then.