Seat-sharing talks with Left Front on: Congress

March 14th, 2019

Kolkata: The seat adjustment talks between the Left front and the Congress in West Bengal are continuing in search of a mutually favourable agreement, a senior Congress leader said here on Thursday.

According to sources, the Left Front is willing to allow 11 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress, including the four seats that it had won in the 2014 polls, while the Congress wants to contest at least 17 of the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

“Discussions are on. They (Left) want to discuss the seat-sharing formula on a seat to seat basis. But we have asked them to first determine the number of seats they are willing to leave out for us to contest,” state Congress President Somen Mitra said.

“They are also talking about their higher vote percentage in certain seats. But like cricket, winning matters more than the percentage. We have told them discussing vote percentage is of no avail. Give us the number of seats,” he said.

When asked about the Left’s decision to offer seven seats to the Congress apart from the four seats it already have, Mitra said his party will not be contented with that and may decide to fight elections alone in the state.

“What will we do with just seven seats? Discussions often start like this. They (left) will say seven seats, we will say 27 seats…only time will tell what will happen,” he said.

“We are ready to go it alone in Bengal. But if the seat adjustment takes place, then our combined fight will be more powerful. It would become more fruitful for our supporters,” Mitra said.

Earlier, the discussions had stalled over the insistence of the Congress to put up candidates in Raiganj and Murshidabad, the only two seats won by the CPI-M in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

The deadlock was resolved after Congress President Rahul Gandhi intervened and persuaded the state leadership to leave the two seats to the CPI-M. But now two other seats, Purulia and Basirhat, have emerged as the bones of contention in the seat-adjustment talks between the two parties.