Kolkata: West Bengal Congress president Somendra Nath Mitra has accused the CPI(M) of dictating its terms over Lok Sabha seat sharing in the state and alleged the Left was fooling the grand old party over the last few weeks.
Speaking to News18, Mitra said, “Only we are compromising since the beginning. We compromised the Murshidabad and Raigunj seats to the CPI (M). Our leaders wanted to contest from these two seats, but following instructions of party president Rahul Gandhi we made a compromise. Now the Left Front is saying it will give us only 12 Lok Sabha seats, including four existing Congress seats, and it will contest from 31 seats.”
He said, “We refused this offer and told Left leaders that it was not possible to compromise every time. The most unfortunate stand from the CPI(M) side was that not only did it fix the number of seats for us, but said it would decide candidates for seats like Darjeeling and Birbhum. How can CPI(M) leaders dictate their terms on who will be the Congress candidates. Don’t you think this is ridiculous. I have informed everything to Rahulji and now it’s up to the top leadership.”
“In the name of alliance, they (CPI-M) are fooling us. They want to keep their seats intact. I don't see any future in this alliance,” he added.
Trouble began after the Left party announced its candidates’ list despite being requested by the state Congress to hold back till the seat-sharing issue was resolved.
“We have requested the CPI(M) not to announce the list because ‘seat-to-seat’ discussion in is yet to be done. We need to resolve it first before announcing the list,” Mitra said.
The Congress is looking to contest from 17 seats, including Purulia, Bankura, Bashirhat, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Krishnanagar, Hooghly, Burdwan, Howrah and Midnapore (both West and East), while the CPI(M) wants to field candidates in 31 seats (so far it has announced candidates for 25 seats).
The two parties have been at loggerheads over a few seats, including Purulia, Basirhat and Jalpaiguri.
Earlier, there were also some issues with the Murshidabad and Raiganj seats, but the matter was resolved after Gandhi spoke to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
The leaders agreed that both the seats will be contested by the Congress candidates Badaruddoza Khan and Mohammad Salim respectively.
“There are some minor issues over some seats and talks are on to resolve it. It’s a seven phase election and there is no hurry,” CPI (M) Central Committee member Rabin Deb had said.
Prior to the resolution talks on the bottleneck over Murshidabad and Raigunj seats, Mitra had alleged that CPI (M) was reluctant to share the dais with them in public or political meetings.