The supposedly small number of seats the Congress has been allotted in West Bengal is causing heartburn not just among party workers. Some of the party’s allies are deserting the coalition on account of this.
Ever since the Trinamool Congress left 65 seats for the Congress out of the 294 in the state, the latter’s allies such as the Adivasi Vikash Parishad (AVP) and United Secular Democratic Front (USDF) parted company and even announced their own candidates on Thursday.
Their grouse was one: the electoral pie was too small to be divided further.
Also, discontent in the Congress has reached such a level that MP Adhir Choudhury has announced he will support independent candidates in Murshidabad. He has refused to acknowledge the alliance with the Trinamool in the district.
“Ask the Congress why we had to end our alliance with them. We planned to fight the CPI(M) together, creating a secular front. But after it got so little from the Trinamool, what can it hope to give us,” asked Siddiqullah Choudhury of the Jamate-Ulema-e-Hind, one of the constituents of the USDF.
“We wanted only 20% of the 294 seats (about 60). But the Congress went ahead and struck a deal with Mamata Banerjee,” Choudhury said.
Party for Democratic Socialism state secretary Samir Putatunda echoed the same sentiments: “We have no other way. Now we will fight the elections without the Congress.”
Seven constituents of the USDF announced their candidates for 147 seats on Thursday.
While Putatunda and Choudhury criticised the Congress for failing to bargain hard with the Trinamool, the AVP also announced its plans to field seven candidates.
“We will not go with the Congress. We wanted only four seats from them, mostly reserved for scheduled tribes. But they cannot spare them because they have too little for themselves,” said Tej Kumar Toppo, state committee secretary of the AVP.
The AVP has announced its candidates for seven constituencies. The outfit has decided to tie up with the Kamtapur People’s Party, a small party fighting for a separate state of Kamtapur.