Kolkata: Even as the Election Commission of India (EC) is yet to announce the schedule for Lok Sabha polls, the Left Front in Bengal today announced its candidates for two out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
The two Lok Sabha seats are Raiganj in North Dinajpur and Murshidabad in the district of the same nomenclature that the Left Front had won in the 2014 elections.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose told a news conference during the day that CPI-M outgoing MP Md Salim and Badaruddoza Khan have been re-nominated, respectively, to contest from the two seats.
The move is aimed at keeping the Congress in check, which has imposed the precondition that Raiganj and Murshidabad seats should be spared for it if the Left Front wants an electoral understanding in Bengal for the Lok Sabha polls.
Congress’ logic is that the two seats were once the stronghold of the party. Deepa Dasmunshi, the widow of late Union minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, is keen on contesting from Raiganj as it was her husband’s home constituency.
The Left Front chairman did not directly refer to the Congress demand but made it clear that they will not withdraw the candidates from Raiganj and Murshidabad at any cost.
“But we are of the opinion that to strengthen the fight against Trinamool and the BJP, we may have to spare for Congress four seats that it had won in 2014. Those are Malda North, Malda South, Behrampore, and Jangipur,” Bose said.
Left Front’s formula for a probable electoral understanding with the Congress is plain and simple, he said. That is, not to put up candidates against each other in seats that one had won in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
With the Left Front shutting the door on negotiations on Raiganj and Murshidabad, the ball is now in Congress’ court on whether it will still opt for an electoral understanding.