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CPM goes for kill with axe on losers

Calcutta, Feb. 6: The CPM today named a heavyweight MLA as its candidate from Mamata Banerjee’s Lok Sabha constituency.

Rabin Deb, one of the 11 new candidates among 33 the CPM named for the general elections, would take on Mamata in Calcutta South.

Left Front chairman and CPM politburo member Biman Bose released a list of 41 front candidates at the end of a meeting at the CPM headquarters on Alimuddin Street. The state sends 42 members to the Lok Sabha.

The CPM, it was evident from the choice of candidates, was laying its thrust on wresting as many seats as possible from the Trinamul Congress-BJP combine and the Congress. Trinamul has eight MPs, the BJP two and the Congress three.

All eight CPM candidates who had lost last time have been replaced. Two of the party’s MPs have also been dropped. “We have put up candidates who have the most chance of winning. We want to reduce the Opposition’s seat count to zero, if possible,” Bose said.

Five front candidates out of 41 announced today are women. All of them belong to the CPM

The Forward Bloc has replaced its candidates in Barasat and Cooch Behar. The party fielded Subrata Bose in Barasat replacing Saral Deb, who had lost to Trinamul last time. Amar Roy Pradhan, the MP who had been expelled from the party, was substituted by Hiten Burman in Cooch Behar.

The RSP and the CPI have made no change.

The two CPM MPs dropped were Sandhya Bauri from Bishnupur and S.P. Lepcha from Darjeeling. In Bishnupur, the party has fielded Bauri’s daughter Susmita. In Darjeeling, its choice was Mani Thapa.

The CPM overlooked candidates who lost in 1999. In Jadavpur, it fielded Sujan Chakraborty. Kanti Ganguly had lost there to Trinamul’s Krishna Bose last time. The party also changed its candidates in Contai, Srirampur, Dum Dum, Mathurapur, Malda and Krishnagar.

“Our candidates like Rabin Deb and Sujan Chakraborty are very popular and we expect they would be able to put up a stiff resistance against our Opposition parties in the Lok Sabha elections,” Bose said when asked to explain the change in candidates.

In Dum Dum, influential leader and secretariat member of the CPM’s North 24-Parganas unit Amitava Nandi will fight the BJP’s Tapan Sikdar. Last time, a lesser known candidate, Anil Bhattacharjee, had contested.

The CPM said it would contest Calcutta Northwest instead of leaving the constituency to Laloo Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal. However, it is yet to finalise the name of its candidate from there.

Former athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar has been fielded in Krishnagar. Sikdar had contested the last Assembly elections and lost to Sankar Singh of the Congress in Ranaghat West.

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