Kolkata, March 8 (IANS) A day after the Left Front came out with its first list of candidates, the Congress on Tuesday announced that it had identified 75 seats initially to field their nominees for the West Bengal assembly polls, and said it had a target to contest altogether around 100 seats.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed there was no dispute with the LF – with whom his party is working on an electoral understanding – in the 75 seats, candidates for which would be announced by the party high command. However, one of the seats – Joypur in Purulia district – figured in the list of both parties.
He also said there could be friendly fight between the Congress and the LF in Domkol and Hariharpara constituencies of Murshidabad district. The LF has announced candidates for both the seats, though these two do not figure among the 75 constituencies in the Congress list.
“The candidates that the LF has announced for these two seats would be to the benefit of the Trinamool. So, there will be friendly fight in these two seats.”
Chowdhury said discussions were on with the Left parties, and the remaining seats would be announced once the deliberations got over.
Asked to comment on LF chairman Biman Bose’s commentsA on Monday that there was neither an alliance with the Congress, nor would the Lf share the campaign platform with it, he said: “I think we shouldn’t play a hide and seek game.
“It is the view of the LF. It is known to all what we are doing. But tell me, months back would you have believed that there would be an electoral understanding between the two forces? It is the tremendous demand from the lower level workers which has led to this understanding.
“So whatever we may say, it is the workers who would decide. If they put pressure, both Biman Bose and Adhir Chowdhury will have to bend,” said Chowdhury.
The Bengal Congress chief said the Congress had no objection about leading a joint campaign with the LF. “If they want to join us in the campaign, we will welcome them. It would have been good if we had gone for a joint campaign. We don’t believe in any political untouchability. Everybody is welcome.”
Chowdhury said party spokeperson Om Prakash Mishra has desired to take on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Bhowanipore assembly constituency of South Kolkata.
“It shows his political resolve. When the high command takes up the candidates’ list for approval, we will ask it to clear this seat first.”
He said all senior leaders of the state have been requested to file nominations. Among them are former state Congress chiefs Pradip Bhattacharya, Somen Mitra, Manas Bhunia, and other party veterans Abdul Mannan, Deepa Dasmunshi, Mohammad Sohrab, Sankar Singh and Arunava Ghosh.
Among the seats the Congress has earmarked to contest are 15 from Murshidabad, six from Malda and five from Kolkata.
The LF on Monday announced its candidates for 116 seats in the 294-member assembly.