CPI-M proposes 'no mutual contest' to Congress in six West Bengal seats
By  IANS | Updated:  Mar 05, 2019, 10:17 AM
The CPI-M on Monday proposed "no mutual contest" in six Lok Sabha seats currently held by Congress and the Left Front in West Bengal even as it indicated that it would lend support to the Congress on seats it is not contesting in states where there is a direct contest between the BJP and Congress.
Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said here in West Bengal, where the party had won two Lok Sabha seats in 2014, it will not go for mutual contests in six Lok Sabha seats - these and four seats held by Congress at present.
Yechury, who was briefing reporters after a meeting of party's Central Committee, said that its electoral tactics in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be based on defeating the BJP alliance, increasing strength of the CPI-M and the Left in the Lok Sabha, and ensure that an alternative secular government is formed at the Centre.
He said that the Central Committee had earlier decided that the CPI-M will adopt suitable tactics to ensure the maximization of the pooling of anti-BJP and anti-TMC votes in West Bengal.
"In accordance with this, the CPI-M proposes no mutual contest in the present six sitting Lok Sabha seats, currently held by Congress and the Left Front. The Left Front is meeting on March 8 to finalise the other seats," he said.
Sources said that the talks were being held for an understanding between CPI-M and Congress for the Lok Sabha seats in the state. They said that if the understanding is arrived, the CPI-M is likely to contest 20 seats, other members of Left Front 8-10 seats and Congress could contest 12-14 seats.
However, the talks are apparently stuck over Congress keenness to contest Raiganj and Murshidabad constituencies, which the party narrowly last in 2014 elections. The two seats are held by the CPI-M.
Yechury said that in order to ensure the maximum pooling of anti-BJP votes, state level electoral tactics are being worked out. "In states where the direct contest is between the Congress and BJP, the CPI-M will contest one or two seats and campaign generally for the defeat of the BJP," he said.
A party statement said that in Tamil Nadu, discussions were on for seat sharing with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra for contesting Dindori or Palghar seats where it "independently polls around a lakh votes each".
In Bihar, talks are being held with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for contesting Ujiarpur seat in Samastipur district, it said.
"In Odisha, where simultaneous elections will be held, the CPI-M will contest the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha and a few Assembly seats including its sitting seat Bonnai," he added.
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