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Congress releases audio cassettee for poll campaign in Bengal

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, Mar 26 (UNI) West Bengal Pradesh Congress President Pranab Mukherjee here today started off the party's poll campaign in the state by releasing an audio cassette to reach the voters in rural areas through an ''intimate but novel method''.

Releasing the cassette, containing his selected speeches on one side and village folk songs on the other to attract voters, Mr Mukherjee said in the wake of strict code of conduct in election campaign imposed by the Election Commission, they had thought of approaching the voters in a ''musical way'' particularly in rural Bengal where the razmataz of the usual electioneering in the city were absent.

Asked about the poll prospect of the Congress which was still not being able to announce the final list of candidates for all 257 seats the party had decided to contest in the coming five phase poll in the state, Mr Mukherjee said the Central Election Screening Committee of the Congress had already decided on the candidates and the final list would be declared by the High Command within the next 24 to 48 hours 'after some minor adjustments''.

The West Bengal assembly has total 294 seats.

About the role of its alliance partners like the PDS and the UCPI,the PCC President said of the 37 seats allotted to the alliance partners, some like the Chatna and Gaighata seats in North 24 Parganas district were sought to be changed by some of them and ''we are looking into their denmand.

Agreeing that the party was already late in announcing the final list because of internal bickerings in some districts, Mr Mukherjee, flanked by WBPCC Vice-President Pradip Bhattacharya and senior state party leader Somen Mitra ruled out any such division within the party any longer.

'I will start my electioneering on April three for the first phase of poll in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia distrits, the Defence minister announced and hoped that a number of Congress leaders would join him in unison to give the campaign a further fillip.

To a query he said Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime minister Manmohan Singh would participate in the electioneering in West Bengal.'' But their dates are yet to be finalised'', he clarified.

About the party's prospect in the Rajya Sabhas poll for five seats from West Bengal and where the Congress had put up former city Mayor Subrata Mukherjee as party candidate despite not having the required number of first preference votes, Mr Mukherjee, citinig the instance of his winninig the similar elections in 1993, said despite the ruling CPI-M's strong opposition, he had clinched the seat 13 years ago.

He, however, refused to elaborate further (on the chances of cross voting) but hoped that this time too, the former Mayor would come out victorious in the elections which is slated for March 28.

UNI ABA PC SHR PC2126

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