The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM steps into Sudip seat
- Jorabagan MLA nominated after talks with RJD collapse

Calcutta, March 10: The CPM today announced MLA Sudhansu Sil would be its candidate for the Calcutta Northwest parliamentary constituency after seat-sharing talks with the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Delhi over the past few weeks broke down.

“We are going to field Sil now that our talks with the RJD can be said to have ended,” said state CPM secretary Anil Biswas.

The MLA from Jorabagan — which falls within Calcutta Northwest — is also the party chief whip in the Calcutta Municipal Corporation in addition to being an important functionary of the CPM’s Calcutta district committee, which recommended his name.

“I am confident of sailing through as the people here would vote for me to ensure the defeat of the communal forces,” Sil said after his nomination.

The Trinamul Congress has put up mayor Subrata Mukherjee from Calcutta Northwest while party rebel and sitting MP Sudip Bandopadhyay intends to fight as an Independent. In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, Rajdeo Goala of the CPM lost to Bandopadhyay by a substantial margin.

Biswas said the CPM will field Prasanta Majhi for the Khandoghosh Assembly seat in Burdwan, bypoll to which will be held as the seat fell vacant following the resignation of MLA Jyotsna Singh. Driven by poverty, Singh has taken up a government job.

Sources said the CPM believes it stands a good chance if the rebel Trinamul MP ends up splitting the Opposition votes. The party reckons Bandopadhyay, who enjoys goodwill in the constituency, will eat into Trinamul as well as Congress ballots.

The Congress is yet to name its candidate for the seat; Bandopadhyay is soliciting its support. “I will certainly talk to PCC chief Pranab Mukherjee when he returns to Calcutta to clinch the matter,” Bandopadhyay said this afternoon.

The Congress is insisting that either Bandopadhyay join the party and contest on the “hand” symbol or criticise the NDA and accept Sonia Gandhi as his leader if he wants to contest as an Independent with its support.

Kabuliwala catch

The state BJP roped in Sushmita Bandopadhyay, who rose to fame by penning her experiences as an Afghan’s wife in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Around 3,000 families in Satgachchia — Jyoti Basu’s former constituency — in Burdwan who are members of a CPM-controlled fishermen’s cooperative also switched over to the BJP.

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