Congress releases first candidates’ list for Assam, Bengal elections

The Assam list features 40 candidates while 13 have been named for the West Bengal assembly polls

Adhir, Chowdhury, Congress
Chowdhury mocked Banerjee for "surrendering" before Sonia Gandhi through her letter seeking the support of opposition parties | File photo: PTI

The Congress on Saturday announced its first list of candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in Assam and West Bengal. The Assam list features 40 candidates while 13 have been named for the West Bengal assembly elections.

The Congress, which is in alliance with the Left Front and Abbas Siddiqui-led Indian Secular Front in West Bengal, is set to contest only 92 seats in the 294-member assembly.

According to its Bengal list, four-time MLA and deputy leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Nepal Mahato, has been fielded from Baghmundi constituency in Purulia district.

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Notably, neither Congress nor Left Front has announced any name for the most-watched Nandigram seat in Purba Medinipur district, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is pitted against her former cabinet colleague and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. Speculations are rife that the Congress and the Left Front will leave the seat for their alliance partner ISF as the seat has a significant number of minority voters.

Seven of the 13 Congress contestants, whose names were announced during the day, are fresh faces. Of the 13 seats, the Congress had won Purulia and Baghmundi constituencies in the 2016 assembly elections. Partha Pratim Banerjee has been fielded from Purulia in place of sitting MLA Sudip Mukherjee, who has recently joined the BJP.

It is yet to be decided which party will contest the Egra, Nandigram and Pingla seats, Left Front chairman Biman Bose had said on Friday. As per the announcements made so far for the seats in the first two phases of polling, the Left Front will contest 38 seats, followed by the Congress (13) and ISF (five).

The five seats given to ISF so far in the first two phases are Mahisadal, Chandrakona, Raghunathpur, Saltora, and Raipur. Congress has been given Purulia, Bhagabanpur, Balarampur, Baghmundi, Bankura, Bisnupur, Kotulpur, Patharpratima, Kakdwip, Moyna, Kharagpur Sadar and Sabang seats.

Related news | It’s Mamata vs Suvendu in Nandigram! BJP announces Bengal list

ISF leader Simul Soren said the party will announce the candidate list in the next couple of days. Asked whether the ISF wants to contest the Nandigram seat, he said, “It is subject to discussion.”

Elections to the 294-member West Bengal assembly will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. And the elections to the 126-member Assam assembly will be held in three phases, beginning on March 27. Votes will be counted on May 2.

In Assam, Congress has fielded its state unit chief Ripun Bora from Gohpur and senior party leader Debabrata Saikia from Nazira. The party also fielded Rana Goswami from Jorhat, Subhramitra Gogoi from Sibsagar, Rajkumar Nilanetra Neog from Dibrugarh and Sibnath Chetia from Digboi.

The Congress-led ‘Mahajoth’ or grand alliance has AIUDF, BPF, CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML) and the Anchalik Gana Morcha as its constituents.

(With inputs from agencies)

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