Kolkata, March 14: Omprakash Mishra, a professor of International Relations in Jadavpur University, was initially set to take on Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of the state and the supremo of the ruling Trinamool Congress from Bhabanipur constituency in South Kolkata. He was later replaced by former Union minister Deepa Dasmunshi.
Prof Mishra had contested the 2004 Lok Sabha election from Jadavpur constituency in South Kolkata but finished third after the Left and TMC candidates. He also contested the 2006 Assembly election from Jadavpur constituency in Kolkata (district South 24 Parganas) but finished a distant third.
Oneindia spoke to the Congress leader on Monday, a day before he formally launched his campaign for the election, for a brief interview. Here is what he told us:
Oneindia: Why the electoral understanding/alliance between the Congress and Left Front has taken so much time to get finalised?
Prof. Mishra: This is the first time ever that the Left and the Congress are making an electoral adjustment. We have reached consensus in almost all 294 seats excepting around seven to eight which have less than five per cent vote share.
These seats on which we are yet to reach an agreement are in the districts of Murshidabad (three), Malda (two), South Dinajpur and Kolkata (one each).
Oneindia: How many seats are the Congress contesting from?
Prof Mishra: That I can't say like this since talks are still on. But we will contest in more than 90 seats for sure. Other parties like the RJD, JD(U), Aamra Aakranto have also been accommodated.
Oneindia: Is the Trinamool Congress worried about the Opposition's coming together?
Prof Mishra: Yes, it is very worried and will lose the election in a big way.
Oneindia: In case the Opposition wins, is there a chief ministerial face in your camp?
Prof Mishra: Nothing as of yet. We can decide these things later. The Left is a senior ally, after all.
Oneindia: It is being said that the Trinamool and BJP have a secret understanding in this election. Your thoughts.
Prof Mishra: Yes, they have a secret understanding. Moreover, Chandra Kumar Bose, the candidate that the BJP has fielded from Bhabanipur, has little political base and doesn't know anything about the place.