The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cong door ajar for PDF seat pact
Tamang (above) and Narbula: Friends again'

Darjeeling, March 3: The People's Democratic Front (PDF) and the Congress are likely to go for a seat adjustment in Darjeeling district for the coming Assembly elections.

Sources maintain that Congress leaders have had an informal talk with their counterparts in the PDF ' the anti-Subash Ghisingh coalition in the hills ' in Darjeeling recently.

Though no official announcement has been made, it is learnt that while the ABGL will be given the Darjeeling seat, the CPRM is likely to contest from Kurseong and the GNLF (C) from Kalimpong. The Congress will support all three PDF partners. The anti-Ghisingh coalition on the other hand will support the Congress in Siliguri and Phansidewa Assembly segments.

'We had a very informal talk. It was not even a meeting. The PCC has already asked me to send the names of party candidates for all the Assembly seats. Let us see what the high command wants us to do,' said Congress MP from Darjeeling Dawa Narbula over phone from Delhi.

Narbula had been supported by both the GNLF and the PDF during the Lok Sabha election and observers believe that the recent bonhomie between the CPM and the GNLF might have forced the Congress to go for a rethink this time.

The alliance, which in all probability could receive the green signal from the party high command, is expected to hit hard Asok Bhattacharya, the CPM minister from Siliguri.

The Congress has a fairly good support base in Mirik, which falls within Bhattachary's constituency. With the PDF supporting the Congress candidate, the minister would definitely find it difficult to have a smooth passage unlike previous elections.

The PDF, however, has decided to play it safe for the moment. 'We will be holding a meeting soon to finalise everything,' said Madan Tamang, the chairman of the PDF. The PDF meeting is likely to take place on March 12.

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