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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

INDIA unity pitch: CPM veteran Biman Bose campaigns alongside Congress's Calcutta North nominee

Just like our comrades (who) are supporting the Congress nominee here, in all the other 41 seats in the state, the Congress and Left workers will fight together against the BJP and the Trinamul, the Left Front chairman said in a brief address outside Gandhi Bhawan

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 30.03.24, 08:36 PM
CPM leader Biman Bose with Congress nominee for the Calcutta North Lok Sabha seat during a campaign in Beliaghata on Saturday

CPM leader Biman Bose with Congress nominee for the Calcutta North Lok Sabha seat during a campaign in Beliaghata on Saturday TT online

The Left Front chairman, CPM veteran Biman Bose, matched step for step and walked alongside the Congress nomine for the Calcutta North Lok Sabha constituency for a while on Saturday, helping Pradip Bhattacharya launch his campaign from Gandhi Bhawan in Beliaghata and send out a message of Congress-CPM unity amidst widening fissures with other Left parties ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

“Just like our comrades (who) are supporting the Congress nominee here in Calcutta North, in all the other 41 seats in the state, the Congress and Left workers will fight together against the BJP and the Trinamul,” Bose said in a brief address outside Gandhi Bhawan.

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The other two candidates in the fray, the sitting MP from the Trinamul Sudip Bandyopadhyay and the BJP's Tapas Roy had started their political career with the Congress.

Though the CPM and the Congress have fought elections together in the past, some CPM leaders had reservation against sharing the dais with Congress leaders. In 2016, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had shared the dais with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at the Park Circus ground. In 2019, the Left and the Congress fought separately though the CPM did not field candidates in Berhampore and Maldah South. In 2021, the Congress and Left joined forces with the Indian Secular Front but failed to win any seat, except one that went to ISF.

TT online

While the CPM is keen on a wider political alliance that includes the Congress as well as the ISF ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, talks for seat-sharing have not been smooth.

On the day Bose walked, holding Bhattacharya’s hand was also the last date for withdrawal of nominations for the first phase of polling scheduled for April 19. Elections will be held in the three north Bengal seats of Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri.

Though Left Front had announced the name of Forward Bloc’s Nitish Chandra Roy in its first list, the Congress too has fielded Piya Roy Chowdhury from the seat, adding to the discomfort of the CPM.

The Forward Bloc and the Congress are already engaged in a tussle over the south Bengal seat of Purulia, where Congress has fielded Nepal Mahato, while the Bloc is insistent on putting a candidate of its own.

TT online

“There are some differences which we are trying to sort out. By Sunday we expect to clear the air and announce the names of the candidates for the rest of the seats,” said Bose.

The CPM is also in a bind over the Indian Secular Front which has announced candidates for eight seats, including those where the CPM has already fielded its nominees. While both the CPM and the Congress are ready to support the ISF’s Bhangor MLA Naushad Siddiqui from the Diamond Harbour seat against Trinamul’s Abhishek Banerjee, the ISF has not made its stand clear yet.

“We are waiting for others who can join the fight against the BJP and the Trinamul. In case they decide otherwise, we have our candidates ready,” said a senior CPM leader.

The Left has so far announced candidates for 23 seats out of the 42, while the Congress has named nine candidates. The CPM is keen on fielding former Sandeshkhali MLA Nirapada Sardar from Basirhat, which the other Left partner CPI has claimed. In that case, the CPM may give up it's claim on the seats in Midnapore West.

The Left Front will meet on Sunday to finalise the list of candidates.

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