Bengal polls: Abbas Siddiqui's ISF demands 45 seats from Left-Congress alliance

Express News Service
KOLKATA: The seat-sharing deal between the Left-Congress alliance and the Indian Secular Front (ISF) appeared to be in deep water as Bengal’s new political entrant, launched by Islamic cleric Abbas Siddiqui, demanded 45 seats and the alliance agreed to leave 25.

A Left Front leader described the ISF’s demand as “unrealistic”, and said dialogues are on to settle the deal as they are trying to stitch an alliance to defeat the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP.

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The Congress, however, made it clear that it would not accommodate the AIMIM in the alliance. The AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, during his Bengal visit and meeting with Abbas last month, had announced that his party would contest in the upcoming Assembly elections under the leadership of the influential cleric of the Furfura Sharif.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose had earlier said that the seat adjustment deal with the Congress would be finalised smoothly. With Abbas Siddiqui’s demand of 45 seats, the final seat adjustment cannot be announced even though only two months are left for the parties to go for electioneering, said a CPI(M) leader.

Sources in the CPI(M) said the party is more amenable to take ISF on board as it needs to access to Muslim votes in rural Bengal considered as TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s strong vote-bank.