Saturday, January 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India 


M A I N   N E W S

Cong forges poll tie-up with CPI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The Congress got a shot in the arm today as it succeeded in clinching an electoral alliance with the CPI, and thus forming a formidable combination against the ruling SAD-BJP combine in the Assembly elections.

Though the alliance has materialised after a lot of vacillation between the two parties for the past several weeks, it has strengthened the position of the Congress vis-a-vis the Assembly elections. The Congress is trying hard to tighten all loose ends in a bid to remove the SAD-BJP alliance from power in the state.

The Congress has allocated 11 seats to the CPI against the 13 it had demanded. Both parties had allied in the last Vidhan Sabha elections too, when the CPI was given 13 seats. The CPI had won two seats from the Malwa belt in spite of the strong wave in favour of the SAD-BJP combine then.

Before clinching the alliance, senior leaders of the CPI and the Congress held a lengthy meeting. Among those who participated in the discussion over the allocation of the seats were Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the state unit of the CPI, Mr Piara Singh Deosi, another senior leader of the CPI, Mr Lal Singh, senior leader of the Congress party, and Mr H. S. Hanspal, former Member of the Rajya Sabha of the Congress party.

Immediately after the tie-up, the CPI announced the names of its candidates for the 10 constituencies: Mr Amarjit Singh Asal (Amritsar west), Mr Gurnam Singh Dhirowal (Sri Hargobindpur), Mr Ram Chand (Shatrana), Mr Achhra Singh (Dhuri), Mr Amrik Singh (Rampura Phul), Mr Buta Singh (Mansa), Mr Ajaib Singh Raunta (Nihal Singh Wala), Mr Nathu Ram (Malout), Mr Manjit Singh (Garhshankar) and Mr Hardev Arshi (Budhlada). The candidate for the Khanna constituency will be named later.

Earlier, following the breakdown of talks between the two parties last week, the CPI on January 2 had announced the names of the candidates for the 18 constituencies out of the total 28, it had decided to contest. This decision of the CPI created a panic among the Congress high command and it immediately directed its state unit to resume negotiations with the CPI to clinch the tie-up. Except on one or two occasion since 1972, the CPI and the Congress have contested almost all Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections as allies.

After finalising the seat-sharing agreement, Dr Joginder Dayal, said that the main fight of the alliance would be against the SAD-BJP combine. He said that the CPI and the Congress would dethrone the Badal government which had failed on all fronts.

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