The Left Front on Thursday released the second list of candidates for 85 Assembly seats that go to the polls next month. It also announced the names of two Rashtriya Janata Dal and two Janata Dal (United) nominees who will be contesting the elections as part of the anti-Trinamool, anti-BJP coalition.
This effectively means that the Left is willing to part with around 90 seats for the Congress to contest. The latter has been demanding around 100 seats.
Although Alimuddin Street attempted to bring the complicated seat-sharing process to an end, hectic lobbying by district units of the CPI(M), Forward Bloc and RSP forced the Front leadership to field candidates in at least 12 seats over which the Congress has already staked its claim. These seats are in Birbhum, Murhidabad, East Midnapore and Purulia districts where both Congress and the Left parties have a sizeable presence.
“Talks over seat-sharing will continue at the district level to sort out these differences,” Front chairman Biman Bose told reporters on Thursday. Expressing anguish at the turn of events, Pradesh Congress chief Adhir Choudhury, who is in Delhi, said: “We formed this political platform to honour the wish of Bengal’s voters. This should be kept in mind during the seat-sharing process.”
RSP national secretariat member Manoj Bhattacharya, however, did not feel that differences over half-a-dozen seats could jeopardize the entire seat-sharing exercise. “Some impediments are bound to crop up when so many political parties are involved. However, there is dispute over only four per cent of the seats. This can be sorted out because the ultimate goal of this exercise is to put to an end to the anarchy we have been witnessing since 2011.”
The list of 85 Left Front candidates released on Thursday has 52 new candidates, nine women and 20 Muslim nominees. Among the prominent faces fielded by the CPI(M) are former finance minister Asim Dasgupta from Khardah and Sujan Chakraborty from Jadavpur. RSP has chosen former minister Biswanath Choudhury to contest the Balurghat seat.
“The RJD and JDU requested us to announce the names of their candidates as well. RJD has fielded Abinash Kumar Agarwal from Jorasanko and Noor Ahmed from Bhatpara. JDU candidates Amitabha Dutta and Prof Md Arshad will contest from Howrah Central and Islampur respectively,” Biman Bose said.
In Jadavpur, where former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was defeated in 2011, there was resentment among a section of CPI(M) leaders over the nomination of Sujan Chakraborty. However, Chakraborty emerged as the final choice of Alimuddin Street.