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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Bengal: Congress in talks with CPM on seat sharing, clarifies Adhir Chowdhury

The state party president’s assertion is in contrast to the stand of some Congress leaders in Delhi, who have been insisting that talks were on with the Trinamul and the deadlock would end soon

Arnab Ganguly Calcutta Published 24.02.24, 07:37 PM
Mohammad Salim and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Mohammad Salim and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury File

Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said on Saturday that he had initiated talks with the CPM for a possible seat-sharing agreement in Bengal for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“I am in talks with Mohammad Salim (the CPM state secretary). We want to have an alliance with the CPM in the state,” Chowdhury said during an interaction with the media in Berhampore.

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Chowdhury’s assertion is in contrast to the stand of some Congress leaders in Delhi, who have been insisting that talks were on with the Trinamul and the deadlock would end soon.

Chowdhury said he was not aware of what the Congress leaders in Delhi had to say about any alliance with the Trinamul.

“The problem with the Trinamul is that if it cuts away completely from INDIA it is wary of losing a share of the minority votes in Bengal. If they declare they are with the bloc, they are scared of the central probe agencies becoming hyperactive,” said Chowdhury. “They are unable to decide which will cost them more.”

Earlier this month, when Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra passed through Bengal, Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee had made it clear that her party will go alone in Bengal. She had accused the Congress of trying to eat into the Trinamul’s voteshare among the minorities.

The Congress has already sealed its alliance with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.

In Uttar Pradesh, the SP has left 17 out of the 80 seats for the Congress, while in Delhi, where the seat-sharing was finalised on Saturday, AAP will contest in four out of the seven seats and the Congress in three.

AAP will field candidates in the seats of New Delhi, West Delhi, South Delhi, and East Delhi, while Congress will contest from Chandni Chowk, the Northeast Delhi and Northwest Delhi seats. Out of the 10 seats in Haryana, Congress has left one for AAP and two of the 26 seats. In Goa, Congress will contest from both the seats. The parties, political rivals in Punjab, will fight separately, though Congress will contest from the lone Chandigarh seat.

According to a Congress leader, seat-sharing in Maharashtra with the Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena and the Sharad Pawar led Nationalist Congress Party will be discussed next.

Salim said Chowdhury’s statement should clear the air in Bengal.

“The INDIA bloc is not for an all India seat adjustment ahead of the polls. Every state has its own political realities and conditions. Manipur and Gujarat are different. Kerala and Punjab are not the same,” said Salim. “In Punjab, UP, Bihar decisions have been taken. West Bengal will also be settled soon.”

Salim said the constituents of the Left Front have already discussed their stand on the possibility of an anti-BJP, anti-Trinamul alliance in Bengal.

“We have also spoken with the CPI M-L (Liberation) which is a Left party but not part of the Left Front. Bilateral talks with the Left Front partners will be held soon. We will also hold talks with the Congress and the Indian Secular Front,” said Salim. “Any party which is opposed to the BJP and the Trinamul are welcome. The RSS has used the Trinamul as a ladder to rise in Bengal. We cannot allow that to continue.”

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