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Congress announces 1st list of 13 candidates for Bengal polls

Congress announces 1st list of 13 candidates for Bengal polls
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New Delhi/Kolkata: The Congress on Saturday announced its first list of 13 candidates for the West Bengal assembly elections.

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

However, neither the Congress nor the Left Front has announced any name for the Nandigram seat in Purba Medinipur district, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is pitted against 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, the Abbas Siddiqui-led Indian Secular Front, as the seat has a significant number of minority voters.

The Congress is set to contest 92 seats in the 294- member assembly.

Seven of the 13 Congress contestants, whose names were announced during the day, are fresh faces.

Of the 13 seats, the Congress had won the 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.

The ISF has been given five seats in the first two phases so far.

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 ISF has been allotted the Mahisadal, Chandrakona, Raghunathpur, Saltora and Raipur seats.

The Congress has been given the Purulia, Bhagabanpur, Balarampur, Baghmundi, Bankura, Bisnupur, Kotulpur, Patharpratima, Kakdwip, Moyna, Kharagpur Sadar and Sabang seats.

ISF leader Simul Soren said that 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 assembly will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. Votes will be counted on May 2.

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