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Left pact buzz after 34 years

Jan. 2: The prospect of a panchayat poll alliance among Trinamul, JMM and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in Jalpaiguri has prompted Left parties to try for a pact at the grassroots for the first time in over 30 years.

Left Front leaders said no alliance was ever forged among the CPM, RSP, Forward Bloc and CPI in Jalpaiguri for the panchayat polls since 1978, a year after the Left came to power in the state.

“It is true that since 1978, no alliance was forged among the Left partners in the rural polls in Jalpaiguri district,” Krishna Banerjee, the Jalpaiguri district CPM secretary and convener of the Front in the district, said.

“However, considering the recent political scenario and certain changes in the affairs of the state, we have decided to form a comprehensive Left Front alliance in all levels of the panchayat elections.”

Banerjee said: “Leaders of all constituent parties will hold talks at the block level to share seats in all three tiers. In case of any confusion, the district leaders will organise meetings to resolve the pending cases where decisions could not be reached at political levels.”

According to Front sources, in earlier panchayat elections, the RSP, Forward Bloc and CPI used to express annoyance at the CPM’s alleged “highhandedness and demand to contest in most seats”.

“This would leave smaller allies like us depressed and frustrated, as a result of which, no alliance could be formed. We would field candidates on our own,” a CPI leader said.

In Jalpaiguri district, there are 146 gram panchayats, 13 panchayat samities and 34 seats in the zilla parishad.

“The situation is different this time. First of all, we are not at the helm of affairs in the state. Second, there are chances of an alliance between the tribals, Morcha and Trinamul. Realising that they intend to field a common candidate in each seat in all tiers, we have decided to join hands and share seats on the basis of organisational strength. Lack of alliance would lead to multiplicity of candidates and cross voting within our parties, which we cannot afford now,” a CPM leader said.

As the Left Front allies, including the CPM, contemplated over the issue and understood the significance of forging the alliance, they had, on December 23, held a meeting at the district CPM office in Jalpaiguri.

“At the meeting, it was decided that leaders of all the parties would hold meetings in all the blocks together. The exercise has commenced since yesterday,” said Sunil Banik, the RSP district secretary of Jalpaiguri.

Anjan Banerjee, the district Forward Bloc secretary in Jalpaiguri, said unless the decision is taken on the basis of organisational strength, it is tough to form what the CPM is terming as a “comprehensive and total alliance.”

“There should be adequate seats for each ally in areas where the corresponding party has a proper base. Otherwise, we have to face resentment of our local leaders and workers.”