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CPM election worry

Calcutta, Jan. 1: The CPM is finding it “difficult’’ to contest in as many as 12,000 of the 51,000-odd panchayat seats in this year’s rural polls because of “Trinamul anarchy”, Alimuddin Street sources said.

According to the party’s internal assessment, the 12,000 panchayat seats are spread across 49 Assembly constituencies in eight of the 17 districts where the polls will be held.

“We conducted a survey of all the districts in the past few months. What we have gathered is that there are about 12,000 seats in the three-tier panchayat system where it would be difficult for us to put up candidates because of Trinamul terror and anarchy,” a CPM state secretariat member said. “We will try to field candidates in as many of these seats as possible but we are not sure if Trinamul will allow us to contest,’’ he added.

There are 51,052 seats in the three-tier panchayati raj system in Bengal. There are 748 zilla parishads, 8,800 gram panchayat samitis and 41,504 gram panchayat seats.

In the 2008 panchayat polls, which marked the beginning of the Left’s decimation, the CPM only won around 24,000 seats — that too after contesting all the 51,000-odd seats.

According to reports reaching the state CPM headquarters, the eight districts where the party is on a sticky wicket are Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan, East and West Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura and Cooch Behar. In Purulia, Bankura and Cooch Behar, Trinamul has gained control of the areas that have a significant Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe population.

“Our organisational strength has marginally improved in Bankura though many rural areas still remain impenetrable,” a CPM state committee leader said.

The CPM leadership will meet the state election commission with complaints of Trinamul terror once the poll dates are announced, said a source.