As the Lok Sabha election draws closer, the political parties are getting ready with the announcement of their candidates. This not only makes the voters aware of their choices but also puts an end to the speculations regarding alliance and seat sharing systems. Yesterday, The Communist Party of India (Marxist) announced their candidates for West Bengal.
Congress had been trying to forge an alliance with the CPI (M) but the candidate announcement effectively proves that they have failed to forge a seat sharing understanding in West Bengal. The two constituencies of Raigunj and Murshidabad had been the bone of contention. Left front chairman Biman Basu on Friday at a press conference announced the names of candidates for these two seats. He stated that the CPI (M) has decided to field sitting MPs Mohammad Salim and Badaruddoza Khan from Raiganj and Murshidabad respectively. The two constituencies were coveted by both parties as they felt they had a chance of winning. Regarding this, the two sides had held several rounds of talks but were unable to come to a resolution.
The Left’s announcement has come a day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi had assured West Bengal Congress president Somendra Nath Mitra that he would talk to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to resolve the impasse.
This announcement has come as an unpleasant surprise for Congress as the leaders had felt that the seat sharing understanding between Congress and the Left Front will ‘materialize’. “Since it is a matter of one or two seats, out of 42, I am sure it will work out,” a senior Congress leader said.
Both seats are currently represented by CPI(M), the only two won by the party in the previous election. The Left had been very firm that they would not vacate the seats in favour of Congress. The grand old party argued that the two places are traditional Congress bastions and the party lost the two seats in 2014 polls by narrow margins. From 2004 to 2014, Congress’ Abdul Mannan Hossain had represented Murshidabad seat, while first Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi and later his wife Deepa Dasmunsi represented the Raiganj seat from 1999 to 2014.
Surjya Kanta Mishra, politburo member and CPI (M)’s West Bengal secretary stated, “We never had any alliance with Congress. This time also it’s just a seat sharing arrangement to avoid clash and nothing else. In 2016 Assembly Election, we had the same understanding.”
“We will not field candidates in the four seats where Congress want to field their candidates. But if the Congress will field their candidates in Raiganj and Murshidabad, then we will also field our candidates there,” Basu stated.
Somendra Nath Mitra said if the CPI (M)’s decision is true, then the seat sharing understanding with them is over. “We will also field our candidates in Raiganj and Murshidabad,” he asserted.
Raiganj MP Mohammad Salim said there was no logic in the demand. “In 2016, we left Kaliaganj, Goalpokhar and Islampur seats in North Dinajpur to Congress to avoid clash. They should also think logically,” he said.
The opposition parties are refusing to bear with Congress with their whims and fancies. Rahul Gandhi’s alliances don’t seem to be working well for him in any state, be it UP or West Bengal. It’s time the grand old party gets out of its entitled shoes and realizes that the country, including the political parties can function just perfectly, even better without their support.