The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bloc gives up seats for ‘greater’ Left unity

Calcutta, April 21: The Forward Bloc, the second-largest partner in the ruling Left Front, today announced that it will withdraw its candidates against the CPM for the May 11 panchayat elections.

State Bloc secretary Ashok Ghosh today told a crowded news conference at the party office that it had decided to pull out such candidates from contests against the CPM for “greater Left unity”. Tomorrow is the last date for withdrawing nominations.

CPM state secretary Anil Biswas had said a few days ago that his party had given a number of seats that the CPM had won during the 1998 panchayat elections to the front constituents for “greater unity among the partners”.

“We sacrificed these seats because we think the CPM has to play the biggest role in keeping the front united and making it stronger,” Biswas had said.

CPM politburo member and front chairman Biman Bose today admitted that there was lack of unity within the front. But with the rural polls barely three weeks away, the “bigger” partners chose to hum the unity tune.

Bose, who addressed a general body meeting of the party at Tamluk with Biswas, said leaflets would be distributed urging the CPM candidates to opt out if they had filed their papers against front nominees.

Ghosh said it was difficult to field candidates in more than 58,000 seats on the basis of consensus among the partners.

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