Announcement not final, discussion on seat-sharing still going on, says State Congress president

The Left Front on Friday announced candidates for 25 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. However, the Congress refused to acknowledge it as the final list, and said that “discussion is on from our side”. The State has 42 seats, the third highest in the country.

A press statement issued by the Left Front noted that while it would contest 25 seats, the rest were not all left to the Congress. “The Congress will contest in some of those, while the Left Front will contest in a few.”

West Bengal State Congress Committee president Somendra Nath Mitra said the list was “not final.”

Allies get 3 seats each

“From our end, seat-sharing discussion is still on. What the Left Front has announced is not our lookout. This is not the final list,” Mr. Mitra told The Hindu.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) will contest 15 Lok Sabha seats and the three major allies of the Left Front — All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Communist Party of India (CPI) — will contest three each. In the Birbhum Lok Sabha seat, Independent candidate Rejaul Karim will be supported by both the Left Front and the Congress.

As announced earlier, CPI(M) MP Mohd Salim will contest from Raiganj and Badrudoza Khan will fight the election from Murshidabad. Both Mr. Salim and Mr. Khan are sitting MPs from the respective seats.

The statement of the Left Front also made it clear that it will not field candidates in four Lok Sabha seats won by the Congress in the 2014 election. These seats are Baharampur, Jangipur, Malda North and Malda South.

The other notable names in the list of Left Front nominees include former Mayor of Kolkata Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya contesting from Jadavpur and Fuad Halim, son of former West Bengal Assembly Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim, from Diamond Harbour.

Jadavpur University Professor Nandini Mukherjee will contest from Kolkata South and former Left Front Minister and RSP nominee Subhas Naskar from Joynagar.

The Left parties and the Congress had come together in the 2016 Assembly poll to take on the Trinamool Congress. The coming together of the Left Front and Congress has turned the Lok Sabha poll three-cornered.

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