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Allies mount seat pressure on CPM

Calcutta, Nov. 18: Junior Left Front partners have decided to demand more seats for next year’s Assembly elections with big brother CPM, stung by successive poll debacles, sounding more accommodating this time.

The junior partners — the Forward Block, RSP and the CPI — will meet the CPM individually to place their demands, following which the issue will be discussed at a full-fledged front committee meeting.

The CPM, which is aware of the simmering discontent among the smaller partners over seat allocation, appeared flexible. “Let them first place their demands at the bipartite meetings. We will discuss their demands with an open mind,” Benoy Konar, CPM central committee member, said this afternoon from Delhi.

Konar said the discussions on seats would be held once state CPM leaders, including Biman Bose, returned from Delhi where they have gone to attend the party’s three-day central committee meeting beginning tomorrow.

A CPM state committee member said the junior partners were likely to bargain for more seats. “There has been an erosion in our vote bank in polls since the 2008 panchayat elections. In this changed political scenario, junior front partners are bound to mount pressure on us to extract more seats,” he said.

“This time, it will be difficult for us to ignore their demands. Front partners have to keep their unity intact to counter Mamata Banerjee,” the state committee member added.

The CPI has been allotted only 13 seats for years. “But this year, we want three more seats,” said state secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar.

RSP leader and PWD minister Kshiti Goswami said his party wanted four seats in addition to the 23 it had been traditionally allotted.

The Forward Bloc, which is given 34 seats, has asked for three more.

The CPM has planned a string of rallies in the districts under the banner of the Left Front to keep the unity among the partners intact.

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