LF-Congress seat-adjustment talks get a jolt

Kolkata, March 10 (IANS) The seat-adjustment talks between the Left Front and the Congress hit a major roadblock on Thursday with the former coming out with its second list of 88 candidates that contained a number of seats which the Congress has also decided to contest.

An angry state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said his party could not be taken for granted, and threatened to put up candidates on all seats.

The 88 seats announced by LF chairman Biman Bose during the day contained 84 where its partners would be in the fray. The LF also left two seats each for its associates Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal (United).

The LF had on March 7 announced its first list of 116 candidates for the 294-member assembly, which goes to the hustings in seven phases from April 4 to May 5.

While Chowdhury had on March 7 itself sounded miffed over the LF announcing three candidates in his pocket-borough Murshidabad district, he was left fuming on Thursday after Bose declared candidates for nine other seats in the district which elects altogether 22 seats.

With the Congress having named the 75 seats which it has earmarked for contesting — though it is yet to announces names of candidates for these constituencies — there are now 16 seats where both the LF and the Congress have declared nominees.

The biggest hurdle seems to be Murshidabad where LF and the Congress candidates overlap in eight seats. In Birbhum district, candidates of both LF and the Congress are in fray in four seats.

Bose, however, said there could be discussions on some of the seats which were disputed.

“Discussions may be needed for some of the seats. Then we may announce a small third list.”

Bose, who gave the call for a people’s grand alliance, stressed on the need to prevent any division of anti-Trinamool votes.

But soon after Bose’s press meet, Chowdhury came out all guns blazing.

“In deference to the peoples’ wishes, and taking a pragmatic view, we had shown all sincerity in arriving at an understanding after prolonged talks. We don’t know what are their compulsions.

“We had prepared a list of constituencies after the discussions. But now if they feel they will contest more seats, no one should assume that the Congess will accept that.”

“Congress will fight where it is organisationally strong.”

Chowdhury said his party had “no problems with triangular fights”.

“There can be triangular fights. We have no objection to that. I had persuaded our high command to agree to the understanding, in respect to the people’s sentiments. But now if they feel they can take the Congress for granted, they have made a mistake,” he said.

Asked whether the eat-adjustment talks would continue, Chowdhury said: “May be, otherwise we will fight all the seats.”

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