The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Front allies head for showdown

Behrampore, April 17: The RSP is taking on “Big Brother” CPM in Murshidabad. The Left Front partners are locking horns for several seats in the pachayat elections.

Senior RSP leaders today admitted that the development would “jeopardise” front unity at the state level. “What’s the relevance of the front if it does not exist at the grassroots'” asked Kshiti Goswami, former PWD minister and senior RSP leader.

Backing the district leaders’ decision to fight the CPM, Goswami said in Calcutta his party was left with no option after they were denied seats in accordance with the front’s “electoral policy”.

Still smarting under the humiliation, the RSP’s Murshidabad secretary, Biswanath Banerjee, alleged that the CPM did not bother to stick to the front’s guidelines on the distribution of seats among the minor front partners.

“The CPM has blatantly flouted the rules by fielding candidates in the seats won by our nominees in the 1998 elections. The CPM even fielded its candidate in the Naoda zilla parishad seat, which we had won last time. This big brotherly attitude of the CPM is hampering Left unity,” said Banerjee.

CPM district secretary Madhu Bag was quick to refute the front partner’s charges. He said the RSP was to be blamed for the mess. “As per the Left Front’s policy, the RSP is supposed to get only six zilla parishad seats out of 60 in Murshidabad. We have sacrificed 10 seats instead of six. This apart, we have allowed the RSP to field its nominee in the Beldanga zilla parishad seat, which was had won last time,” said Bag.

He, however, admitted that both the CPM and the RSP had violated the front’s norms in fielding candidates in certain pockets. “We shall try to withdraw our candidates against the RSP nominees before the election and urge our men to support them,” he added.

The Forward Bloc said it has an electoral understanding with the CPM in 12 of the 26 blocks in the district. Senior Bloc leader Jayanta Roy said there was no understanding among the front partners in 14 blocks.

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