Cong to contest around 93 seats in West Bengal

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) The Congress will contest around 93 seats in the West Bengal Assembly election in alliance with the Left and Indian Secular Front, sources said, as seat sharing talks among the alliance partners continued on Thursday.

The Congress last time had contested 92 seats and won 44 in which about 20 MLAs crossed to the ruling TMC. The Congress is the second largest party in the outgoing Assembly holding the Leader of Opposition’s post.

The Congress and Left had missed the earlier seat sharing deadline which was January 31. The party is now pressing its state unit to finalise the seat sharing agreement so that the preparations for the election could be started immediately. The main focus of the party will be on quality of seats and not quantity, unlike in Bihar where the party contested 70 seats but won only 19.

The Congress has set up a committee to chalk out a seat sharing agreement with the Left parties, which includes Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Abdul Mannan, Pradeep Bhattacharya and Nepal Mahato.

The Congress-Left alliance want to make the Assembly polls a triangular contest and not only between TMC and BJP but the BJP has placed itself as the main opposition party after winning 18 seats in Lok Sabha polls.

The TMC is eyeing a third term in West Bengal, however many leaders including close aides of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have switched sides to the BJP, even as the saffron party is upbeat about the polls and central leaders of the party are visiting the state frequently.

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