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CPM’s message: all out poll fight

Biman Bose and (below) Surjya Kanta Mishra

Calcutta, Dec. 18: The CPM leadership today asked district units to ensure that candidates are fielded in all seats in the panchayat polls due next year “regardless of Trinamul terror”.

Sources said the move was to send a message to Trinamul that Alimuddin Street was “ready to confront” the ruling party.

CPM state secretary Biman Bose and leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra made the stand clear on the concluding day of the state committee meeting today.

“There will not be any let-up in our organisational fight against Trinamul. To ensure this, we will have to put up candidates in all panchayat seats… so that Trinamul gets the message that the CPM is ready to confront them with all its power and won’t be cowed down by threats,” a source quoted Bose as saying at the meeting.

The CPM’s message, the source added, follows reports from some district units that “Trinamul-sponsored violence” against the Left has made cadres fearful of reprisals if nominations are filed in trouble-torn areas.

The districts allegedly affected by Trinamul terror are Howrah, Nadia, Hooghly, Bankura, North Dinajpur and parts of Burdwan and Cooch Behar, a CPM leader said.

It was decided at today’s meeting that the district units would form “small committees’’ comprising four CPM members and one from each of the Left Front constituents to evaluate the political situation on the ground and submit a report to Alimuddin Street by January 24.

Asked about the leadership’s directive to field candidates in all seats, a CPM state secretariat member said: “This is a must. But we fear Trinamul-sponsored attacks and threats could eventually lead to withdrawal of nominations.

“We have got reports from our party leaders in the districts that it would be difficult to field candidates in a few thousand panchayat seats. But the reason for instructing the leaders from the villages to file nominations for every seat is to embolden them. Let them file first. After that, if they are forced to withdraw, we will take it up with the state election commission and police,’’ the CPM leader added.

There are around 46,000 seats in the three-tier panchayati raj system.

During the 34-year Left regime, Opposition parties were unable to field candidates in several thousand seats in successive panchayat elections.

The CPM had then said that organisational weaknesses were preventing the Opposition from filing nominations in all the seats. However, the Opposition, particularly Trinamul and the Congress, had then alleged that CPM’s “muscle power’’ had forced them to stay out of the polls in several seats.

“Now the reverse is happening. We are screaming as an Opposition party as we have been organisationally cornered in many districts,’’ a CPM state committee member admitted.