KOLKATA: The Congress sealed the seat-sharing agreement with the Left Front on Monday announcing it will field candidates in 92 seats out of 294 in the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal. The party’s state president, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, however, made it clear that if any other political forces join the alliance, seats will have to be given to them where his party will not contest.
"We will announce the list of our candidates for the first phase of the election scheduled to be held on March 27 within a day or two. Initially, we demanded 130 seats and we could have bargained for more seats. As other political parties are showing interest to join the alliance, we did not press much to get more seats," said Chowdhury.
The Congress and Indian Secular Front (ISF), the party launched by Islamic cleric Abbas Siddiqui a month ago, are at loggerheads over seat adjustment. Chowdhury is not ready to allow ISF to contest from its strongholds in Malda and Murshidabad districts where the Congress has its sitting MLAs.
Referring to Siddiqui's speech at Sunday's Brigade Parade Ground rally, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said that he doesn't support what the ISF's founder said. "If a party is in an alliance, it should echo the same. In an alliance, every party is to adjust their demands," said Bose, after holding a meeting with Chowdhury.
In his speech On Sunday, Siddiqui said his party will not join hands with the Congress if his demands are not met and asked the followers of his party to support Left's candidates in the upcoming Assembly elections.
"The Left Front has accepted most of our demands. Many are thinking I am supporting Left Front and not talking about Congress. Let me clear that the ISF has demanded what it deserves. I am here to secure my stake, not to satisfy anyone," he had said in his speech.
The development comes on a day when popular Bengali actress Srabanti Chatterjee joined the BJP.
Last week, another actor Yash Dasgupta and 10 others from Bengali film and serial world had joined the BJP.
"I am a daughter of an army man. I saw my father's contribution to the country. I have joined the BJP to work for my country as it is the party which is taking India forward," she said after being handed over the flag of the party by the saffron camp's national general secretary and Bengal observer Kailash Vijayvargiya.