Calcutta, May 4: The RSP today not only rebuffed a CPM request to jointly appeal to candidates taking on official Left Front nominees to withdraw from the fray, but made it clear that they would contest all the friendly fights.
Front unity has taken a beating in at least 4,500 seats in Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri and Malda districts where the CPM and the RSP have locked horns.
It is not possible to withdraw our candidates fielded against the RSP as the last date for withdrawal of nominations is over. Naturally, joint leaflets in favour of the official Left Front nominees have to be issued for the benefit of the electorate, Front chairman Biman Bose said.
CPM state secretary Anil Biswas said this afternoon that besides issuing of leaflets, Front candidates should launch a door-to-door campaign to request voters to back the official nominees. As the last date for campaigning is May 8, we may have to go for a door-to-door campaign as a last resort to clear misgivings among the electorate, he added.
But the RSP, still smarting under the humiliation of alleged CPM supporters preventing minister and party leader Biswanath Chowdhury from addressing a rally on his home turf Hili, decided not to oblige the CPM.
RSP state secretary Debabrata Banerjee said it was impossible for the party to issue joint leaflets withdrawing party candidates. The state leadership has not much to do in stemming squabbles among Front partners at the grassroots. They have to be sorted out by local leaders.
RSP central secretariat member Sunil Sengupta claimed that most of the 4,500 seats were either won or contested by their party nominees during 1998 panchayat elections.