The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Tuesday announced candidates for 13 more Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, taking the total number of nominees to 38. There are 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
The CPI(M), however, has not named contestants for four seats which the Congress won in 2014, PTI reported. The list of 38 candidates could also be altered if the party gets a positive response from the Congress on an alliance by Wednesday evening, Left Front Chairperson Biman Bose said.
“We are not announcing the names of [candidates for] four seats which the Congress had won the last time,” he said. “We will wait till Wednesday evening for a response from the Congress. If there is no response, we will go ahead with the remaining four seats. But if we get a positive response, things can change. The list that I announced today can also be changed.”
Bose said the Left Front hopes the Congress will realise the wisdom of “maximum pooling” of anti-Bharatiya Janata Party and anti-Trinamool Congress votes. He also asked the Congress to examine its vote percentage in West Bengal in the 2014 General Elections. “There are several seats where the Congress’ vote share was between 1.5% and 2%,” Bose said.
However, West Bengal Congress Coordination Committee Chairperson Pradip Bhattacharya told PTI that the party will not “bow down to such threats or ultimatum”. “We have a party policy to follow and we can’t just rush into a decision,” he said. “We have to discuss the matter. Let’s see what happens.”
The Congress had on Monday announced candidates for 11 seats in West Bengal. This included Raiganj and Murshidabad, where the Left Front had won in 2014. The Congress’ action came after talks with the Left Front for a tie-up failed.
The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.