The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 2 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM rural poll hole

Calcutta, Jan. 1: The CPM is finding it “difficult’’ to contest in 12,000 of the 51,000-odd panchayat seats in this year’s rural polls because of “Trinamul anarchy”, Alimuddin Street sources said.

According to the party’s internal assessment, the 12,000 panchayat seats are spread across eight of the 17 districts where the elections will be held.

“It will be difficult for us to put up candidates in these seats because of Trinamul terror and anarchy,” a CPM state secretariat member said.

“We will try to field candidates in as many of these seats as possible but we are not sure if Trinamul will allow us to contest,” he added.

In the 2008 panchayat polls, which marked the beginning of the Left’s fall, the CPM only won around 24,000 seats — that too after contesting all the 51,000-odd seats.

According to reports reaching the state CPM headquarters, the eight districts where the party is on a sticky wicket are Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan, East and West Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura and Cooch Behar.

In Purulia, Bankura and Cooch Behar, Trinamul has gained control of the areas that have a significant Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe population.

“Our organisational strength has marginally improved in Bankura though many rural areas are still impenetrable,” a CPM state committee leader said.

“As for Purulia and Cooch Behar, we are yet to get back the support of SCs and STs. They had voted in large numbers against us in the 2011 Assembly polls,” he added.

In the Assembly polls, the CPM was routed in Howrah, Hooghly and East Midnapore, with the party winning only two of the 50 seats.

“The scenario in Howrah, Hooghly and East Midnapore hasn’t changed in the past one-and-a-half years. We have been repeatedly requesting the government to take steps so that our cadres can resume normal activities. But the Trinamul government is not doing anything,” CPM state secretariat member Rabin Deb said.

The CPM leadership will meet the state election commission with complaints of Trinamul terror once the panchayat poll dates are announced, a source said.