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Front cracks show in Burdwan

Burdwan, May 14: Unlike in the other districts, the rumblings of disunity did not emanate from the Left Front in Burdwan during the panchayat polls. But they are now being heard as the Front prepares for the ensuing civic elections.

For the first time since 1977, the CPM has announced the names of 26 candidates for the 35-seat Burdwan municipality unilaterally. Earlier, the names of Left candidates used to be announced by the Front partners jointly. The elections are scheduled for June 22.

“There is no distance between us, the Front partners, in the district. The other parties have failed to finalise their candidates, so we were compelled to publish our list from our Burdwan zonal committee office,” said district party secretary Amal Haldar.

But the change was glaring for the people in this Left bastion, all too familiar with the Front partners jointly announcing their municipal candidates from the CPM district party office at Parkus Road, locally known as Burdwan’s Alimuddin Street.

The CPM has stuck to the seat-sharing formula the partners have been following for the past polls. The CPM filed nominations for 26 seats, leaving the Forward Bloc four, the RSP three and the CPI two seats each.

Sources said the minor partners’ reluctance to field candidates stems from the CPM’s rigid stand on seat-sharing. The CPI and the Forward Bloc have been demanding more municipal seats in the district for some time and, in the last polls, the CPI had withdrawn all its candidates in anger.

“This year, too, we demanded that the CPM reduce the number of its candidates by one so that we could contest from three instead of two wards, but the CPM did not listen to our plea,” said Arun Ganguly, assistant secretary of the Burdwan CPI. “Though we did not take part in the last municipal elections, this year our district leadership has decided to contest the polls and we shall finalise the names soon,” Ganguly said. He did not reveal whether the CPI will contest in more than three municipal wards.

District RSP secretary Pranab Chakraborty said his party had finalised a list, but as the Front did not call a meeting, the names were withheld. “We are astonished that the CPM has gone ahead and revealed the names without any meeting of the Left Front,” he said.

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