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Samata Party to contest 61 seats in 11 states

March 22, 2004 19:31 IST

The Samata Party on Monday announced its decision to contest 61 Lok Sabha seats in the coming general elections.

George Fernandes as party president had recently merged the Samata Party with the Janata Dal (United). But Bramhanand Mandal had challenged the merger at the Election Commission. The EC termed the merger with the Janata Dal (United) as 'not total'.

Mandal, now president of the party, claimed his faction is the 'original' Samata Party and had been allowed by the EC to retain the 'flaming torch' symbol.

It would contest 14 seats in Bihar, including Mandal from Munger and party's Parliamentary Board leader N K Singh from Madhepura.

While candidates for all the 61 seats have not yet been finalised, the party has decided to contest nine seats in Assam, four in Jharkhand, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, two in Haryana, three each in Delhi, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal and all the six seats in Jammu and Kashmir and five in Uttaranchal.

"We need to win at least one Lok Sabha seat in four states to get recognition as a national party," Mandal said adding his party had decided against going along with Fernandes as he had 'joined hands with a co-accused in Bihar's fodder scam'.

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