(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 20, 2011
FRESH BLOOD IN LF CANDIDATES’ LIST
“We Will Not Stop Until the
Defeat of Both Congresses”
From Our Special
Correspondent in Kolkata
THE list of Left Front candidates for the West Bengal assembly election, announced on 13 March, has attracted the peoples’ attention for its approach towards youth, women, minority, scheduled castes and tribes. Not “starry” and not jam-packed with “retired bureaucrats”, but with fresh blood, the list consists of down to earth people from all sections of society.
West Bengal assembly has 294 seats. Till this report goes, the Left Front is yet to declare candidates for two seats. It has put up 149 new faces in the fray. This is a bit more than 136 new faces that were fielded in 2006 assembly elections. Among the constituents, CPI (M), the largest party of the Left Front, is going to contest in 210 seats, Forward Block 34 seats, RSP 23 seats, CPI 14 seats, Socialist Party 5 seats, DSP 2 seats, Marxist Forward Block 2 seats, RCPI 2seats, BBC and RJD in one seat each. There were, however, changes of seat allocation, as many old seats have been relocated after delimitation of constituencies.
The Left Front candidates’ list represents all sections of the society. There are 46 women candidates in the list. In the previous assembly elections, it was 34. CPI(M) alone has fielded 41 women this time. This is in consonance with growing empowerment of women in the state. Another notable feature is the representation of minorities. There are 64 minority candidates, among them 57 candidates -- almost 20 per cent of total seats -- come from Muslim community. There are other religious and linguistic minorities as well. There is considerable representation of schedule caste and schedule tribes. There are 84 constituencies reserved for SC/ST candidates. The Left Front has nominated 11 more such candidates (including 2 OBC candidates) from the unreserved general seats.
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will once again contest from Jadavpur constituency, which is under South 24 Parganas district administratively but part of Kolkata Municipal corporation as well. Industries minister and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Nirupam Sen will contest from Burdwan (South). Health minister Suryakanta Misra and finance minister Ashim Dasgupta will be contesting from their old constituencies of Narayangarh in West Midnapore and Khardaha in North 24 Parganas respectively. Housing minister Gautam Deb will contest from DumDum in North 24 Parganas.
Altogether nine ministers of the seventh Left Front government will not contest this time; Partha Dey, Manab Mukherjee, Jogesh Barman, Nandagopal Bhattacharya are among them.
Among the new candidates, a considerable section is youth, both in urban and rural seats. DYFI state secretary Abhas Roychowdhury will contest from Barabani in Burdwan district. SFI state secretariat member Shatarup Ghosh is the youngest candidate, he will contest from Kasba in Kolkata.
The campaign got momentum after the candidates’ list was published. In the six-phase elections in the state, 54 constituencies will go to vote 18 April in the first phase. These are mostly in districts of North Bengal. Due to school leaving examinations, there are restrictions on big public rallies or road shows. Left Front activists have already started an intensive door-to-door interaction with the people. Group meetings, smaller area meetings are also being held.
Despite the usual wrangling among Trinamul Congress and Congress, it was quite evident that their alliance would come through eventually. Left front leaders had said repeatedly that they were ready to face a broader ‘alliance’ of anti-Left political forces and the uniquely aggressive anti-Left media. In the last session of the current assembly, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee probably summed up the mood in most clear words: “We will not stop until we defeat the pair of Congresses”.