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Cong plan for all seats

Calcutta, Feb. 25: The state Congress today said it would field candidates for all 58,000 seats in the panchayat polls and “ignore Trinamul threats” in several districts not to file nominations.

“All 58,000 seats will have our candidates. We will ignore the repeated Trinamul threats to us before the rural polls,” state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya said after a meeting at the party headquarters in Bidhan Bhavan.

Asked what Bhattacharya meant by “threats”, the Congress’s Burrabuzar unit chief Santosh Pathak said the ruling party had been threatening his party leaders in some districts with dire consequences if they fielded candidates there.

A Trinamul leader dismissed the allegation, saying the Congress “anyway will not get so many candidates”.

Sources said that Congress district presidents at the meeting were asked to choose their own candidates as the leadership this year “will not intervene in district matters”.

State Congress vice-president Debabrata Basu echoed Bhattacharya, saying that unlike in 2008, when the party could field candidates for 25,000 seats “because of the CPM”, this time the Congress will show its full strength.