The Telegraph
Tuesday , December 4 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fissures in Left over poll seats

Agartala, Dec. 3: The rumblings of discord within the Left Front have come out in the open with the RSP, a constituent of the Left Front, reiterating its demand for allotment of two Assembly seats.

The demand comes amid clear signals that the CPM will allot it only one seat following the abolition of Shalgarah seat consistently won by the RSP since 1978 when the Left Front was formed.

The demand for sticking to two seats was finalised at a meeting of the RSP state committee last night under the leadership of the party’s central leader and former Bengal PWD minister Kshiti Goswami.

“We will communicate to the Left Front committee that we will settle for nothing short of two seats; if our legitimate demand is rejected, the unity of the Left Front will be affected. It is not the RSP’s responsibility alone to protect the unity of the Front; other parties also have responsibilities,” a source in the RSP said.

Though the Left Front, specially the dominant partner, the CPM, has been preparing to finalise the list of nominations for the Assembly elections in February next year, differences over share of seats to be allotted to the Front partners have begun since early this year.

In the 2008 Assembly polls, Forward Bloc had left the Front and contested 11 seats separately after its demand for two seats was rejected. Though Forward Bloc returned to the Front post-election, allotment of seats became a major bone of contention because of delimitation of constituencies.

The Forward Bloc, which has always been allotted the Town Bardowali seat in Agartala town, wants a change of seat. “The final decision will be taken in the Left Front committee’s meeting but we do want a change of seat because Town Bardowali seat has traditionally been a stronghold of the Congress. We have won this seat only twice — in 1978 and 1993. Unless there is a direct split in Congress’s vote as happened in 1978 and 1993, it is not possible to win this seat. The Left Front committee should consider this,” said a prominent member of Forward Bloc state committee.

Nothing has so far been heard of the CPI but the state CPI leadership is concerned that the CPM may take away one seat this time.

“We have not been sounded out on this by the CPM leadership but there are reports emanating from within the CPM that one of our two seats may be taken away citing performance records. That will be unfortunate and we will protest,” said a senior CPI leader in South Tripura. CPM office secretary Haripada Das refused to make any comment “on the basis of speculation” but trashed media reports on the issue of seat sharing.

“Nothing has been decided, the Left Front committee will meet soon and take a call on the issue. The entire process will be transparent and you will know everything in time,” Das said.