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Front lines up strategy session

Calcutta, March 14: Major Left Front partners like the RSP and the Forward Bloc will urge the CPM to increase their share of seats in the panchayat elections when the front meets on March 18 for preliminary discussions on seat sharing.

The Dol Jatra date for the strategy session was fixed on purpose. The budget will be placed in the Assembly on March 20 and the front leaders believe that after the members get busy with proceedings in the House, making time for meetings on the rural polls will be difficult. The budget session is expected to continue till the first week of April, which will leave the front with only a month to campaign.

The Bloc has already made attempts to pressure the CPM for more seats. State secretary of the party Ashok Ghosh said the front “did not exist at all” at the grassroots level. “There is a front committee at the state level and district levels. But there are no front committees to monitor the zilla parishads and panchayats. We want such committees at the grassroots level so that the panchayats can be run by the front and not by a single party,” said Ghosh.

The hint, obviously, was at Big Brother CPM.

The CPM controls all the zilla parishads in the state single-handed as the party enjoys an overwhelming majority at the panchayat level.

The Bloc had captured the Cooch Behar zilla parishad after the first panchayat polls in 1978 but it lost it to the CPM in 1983. During the last round of rural polls in 1998, front partners had contested against each other in at least 20,000 seats. Not willing to take chances this time, the CPM wants to finalise its candidates by the first week of April.

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