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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Kolkata: Congress, Left at loggerheads in at least 4 seats

In the Samsherganj Assembly seat of Murshidabad, which has been allotted to the Left Front as per the seat-sharing arrangement, the CPI(M) has fielded Modassar Hussain. The Congress has also fielded its candidate – Rezaul Haque – there.

Written by Atri Mitra | Kolkata |
Updated: March 25, 2021 12:11:50 pm
In Murshidabad – the stronghold of state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury – the Congress and the Left Front are engaged in a battle of oneupmanship in two Assembly constituencies. (File)

While the elections are just a few days away, the Congress and its poll partner, the Left Front, are finding themselves caught in a knot over a handful of seats that could prove detrimental to the United Front alliance.

In Murshidabad – the stronghold of state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury – the Congress and the Left Front are engaged in a battle of oneupmanship in two Assembly constituencies.

In the Samsherganj Assembly seat of Murshidabad, which has been allotted to the Left Front as per the seat-sharing arrangement, the CPI(M) has fielded Modassar Hussain. The Congress has also fielded its candidate – Rezaul Haque – there.

In the last Assembly elections, Trinamool Congress candidate Amirul Islam had won the seat by defeating Congress, which though had a seat-sharing understanding with the Left and had given the seat to the CPI(M) had fielded a candidate against the official CPI(M) nominee. Learning from the mistake, the CPI(M) this time demanded that the Samsherganj seat be given to them. However, Chowdhury was not ready to accept the Left’s demand went ahead to field its candidate.

In Naoda Assembly seat in Murshidabad, the Congress and the CPI(M) are again pitted against each other. Though the seat was officially allotted to the Congress, the local unit of the CPM has threatened to field an Independent candidate there, saying they were “unhappy” with the official Congress nominee – Mosharraf Hossain alias Madhu, who has recently joined Congress from TMC. Local CPI(M) leaders alleged that Hossain had rigged the 2018 panchayat elections in Naoda for the TMC.

On Monday, the local CPI(M) leadership announced that its Murshidabad district committee member and teacher Shamik Mandal would contest the polls. They demanded the state leadership to allot the party symbol for his candidature, otherwise they would make Shamik contest as Independent.

But Hossain downplayed the local CPI(M) revolt, saying: “It is not the decision of the entire CPM leadership of the district, but only a section of it.”

Both the seats will vote in the last phase of the eight-phase elections in the state.

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In Purulia district, the Congress has fielded its candidates on two seats – Jaipur and Balrampur – against the nominees of Forward Bloc, a constituent of the Left Front.

In the 2016 Assembly elections, when again the Left Front and the Congress were in pre-poll alliance, such conflict between the alliance partners were in at least 24 seats.

CPI(M) politburo member Mohamad Selim, however, said that they were optimistic of the disputes getting resolved before the final date of nominations. “Till date, the ruling TMC and BJP are grappling with their own rebels in many seats. We joined hands with Congress and more than 10 parties to form the United Front. Till now, the conflict exists in only four to five seats. This is not a major conflict, and will be resolved through negotiations.”

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