Bengal Left Front, Amid Talks With Congress, Announces List For 25 Seats

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Sitaram Yechury had originally offered "mutual no-contest" in six seats. (File)


The creases are yet to be ironed out. But in the middle of talks with the Congress, Left Front in West Bengal today announced candidates for 25 seats, including four contentious ones – Murshidabad, Raiganj and Purulia.

The two big thorns in the flesh were Purulia and Basirhat, with both Left and Congress staking claim.

The Left today named candidates to both seats but appeared prepared for a four-cornered fight.

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In a press statement, the Left said, "If the Congress thinks it can win at Basirhat and Purulia and wants to field candidates to, they may."

The Purulia candidate is Forward Bloc's Bir Singh Mahato, four-term MP from 1996 to 2004. He will take on Trinamool's Mriganko Mahato.

The Basirhat candidate is Pallav Sengupta of the CPI.

As per CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury's original offer of "mutual no-contest" in six seats, the Congress will not field candidates in Raiganj and Murshidabad won by the Left in 2014.

And Left will not field candidates at Jangipur, Behrampore, Malda North and Malda South where Congress won in 2014.

In a press release, accompanying the list of candidates, the Left Front says: "In the remaining 17 seats, Congress will fight in some seats and so will the Left. The names of the rest of the Left candidates will be announced in a few days. There may be some commonly-chosen candidates in some seats." West Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats.

PCC Chief Somen Mitra said he was not perturbed by the fact that the Left Front had released its list of 25. "The list was released after consultation by Left Front chairman Biman Bose. There was nothing so underhand or secret about it," he told reporters.

"Our negotiations are still on. I am hopeful," said Mr Mitra. Asked if there would be joint campaigning by the Left and Congress, he said, "Let the baby first be born. Then we will worry about the name."

Among the Left's most prominent candidates is CPM's Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya from Jadavpur seat, in the spotlight ever since actor Mimi Chakraborty replaced siting Trinamool MP Sugata Bose.

Professor Bose, who teaches at Harvard, apparently could not get time off from the university.

Dr Fuad Halim of the CPM is pitted at Diamond Harbour against Abhishek Banerjee, sitting MP and Mamata Banerjee's nephew.

Nepal Deb Bhattacharya of CPM who had contested against the Trinamool-turned-BJP leader Arjun Singh in Bhatpara in 2011 has been named for the Dum Dum Lok Sabha seat held by Trinamool's Sougata Roy.

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