Left and Congress join hands to support Malihabadi for RS

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Kolkata, Mar 14 (UNI) In a curious political development, the ruling Left Front and the Opposition Congress today joined hands to support A S Malihabadi, editor of an Urdu daily for a Rajya Sabha seat in West Bengal.

This dashed the hopes of the Trinamool Congress, which fielded Mr Dinesh Dwivedi for second consecutive term.

Mr Malihabadi, the Front-backed Independent candidate, filed his nomination paper during the day hours before the Congress extended support to him.

''We do not have the strength to win on our own as we do not have the number,'' West Bengal Pradesh Congress President Priyaranjan Dasmunshi told reporters in presence of Mr Malihabadi in reply to a question whether the party would support him.

''We tried to reach a unanimity with two or three names for nomination in the fifth Rajya Sabha seat in the state, who will not be from either the Congress or the Trinamool Congress, but we failed,'' he said.

While Mr Malihabadi was picked up by the Left Front as a prospective candidate for the fifth Rajya Sabha seat going to polls on March 26, Shyamal Chakraborty, Tarini Roy and Prasanata Chatterjee, all of CPI(M), and Forward Bloc general Secretary Debabrata Biswas submitted their nominations during the day.

The Left Front has adequate first preference votes to get four of its nominees through and has a surplus of 39 votes.

With Mr Malihabadi coming into the fray as an Independent candidate, the Front hopes to earn at least ten more votes in favour of him from the Congress to get him elected to the Rajya Sabha.

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