The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM lines up big guns for bypoll
- Three-way contest makes party hopeful of snatching seat from Trinamul

Krishnagar, May 26: Virtually swept out of the region in the panchayat poll, the CPM is pulling out all stops to wrest the Nabadwip Lok Sabha seat in Nadia, which will go for a by-election on June 8.

The election was necessitated by the demise of Trinamul Congress member of Parliament Ananda Mohan Biswas.

The district CPM is bent on not letting an opportunity slip. Preparations are on for an “intense campaign” bolstered by the presence of stalwarts. Alakesh Das will have the advantage of campaigning with crowd-pullers like Jyoti Basu and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Veteran parliamentarian Somnath Chatterjee, housing minister Gautam Deb and state party secretary Anil Biswas would also be among the CPM heavyweights who would come down to canvass for Das.

Trinamul has played it safe. They have got Ananda Mohan’s son Abir to contest. The Congress has fielded Rajani Doloi, a former MLA from Midnapore.

Political observers here are seeing this as an “all-out attempt” by the CPM to wrest the seat from Trinamul and send out the message that the debacle in the panchayat election in the district was nothing but “victory of political opportunism”. The negative publicity for the CPM in the wake of the Dhantola loot and rape was cited as a reason for the party’s poor showing.

Out of the seven panchayat samities in this parliamentary constituency, CPM lost five to the “grand alliance” of Trinamul, the BJP and the Congress. The alliance — though nothing of the sort existed in the larger sphere — worked out at the gram panchayat and panchayat samity levels.

District Congress president Shankar Singh pointed out: “Had the alliance been there at the level of the zilla parishad, the Communists would have been wiped out in all the seats.”

Singh said the CPM was faction-ridden in this part of the district and the decision to fall back on the party brass in the bypoll campaign was “natural”.

“The state CPM leaders will try their level best to help Das win this election to re-establish the party’s control here,” he added.

But Das prefers to show the balance in the zilla parishad as a pointer to things to come. “The Nabadwip Lok Sabha constituency comprises 17 zilla parishad seats and we took control of 14. This time, it will be a three-way fight as the Congress and the Trinamul-BJP combine have fielded separate candidates. The opportunistic alliance no longer exists,” said Das, the state vice-president of the Democratic Youth Federation of India.

The Trinamul candidate labelled the Congress as the “spoiler” in the poll fray. “We repeatedly asked them not to field a candidate. But they asked me to contest as an Independent. An Independent Abir Biswas means the CPM will field thousands of dummy Abir Biswases to defeat me,” he said.

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