The Left Front appeared to have taken lessons from the BJP as it announced its list of candidates for the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats on Tuesday, changing as many as 13 of its sitting 35 MPs.
One of the key reasons attributed to the BJP’s victories in the assembly elections of Gujarat in 2007, and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2008, was that it beat back anti-incumbency sentiment among voters by dropping a host of non-performing MLAs and awarding tickets to fresh faces.
To meet the challenge of the Congress and the Trinamool Congress having come together against it, the Left too has adopted the BJP’s strategy.
Eight CPM MPs have been dropped, three from the Revolutionary Socialist Party and two from the Forward Bloc.
However, it is not all fresh blood. Laxman Seth has been renominated from Tamluk, within which Nandigram falls, despite the notoriety he earned during the Trinamool led struggle against a chemical hub in that region in 2007.
Biman Bose, state party general secretary, refused to entertain any questions about individual choices.“The party takes many factors into account while choosing its candidates,” he said. “Consulting the media is not part of the process.”
But he admitted that the Left Front faced its most severe challenge in years. “The Left will stand like a rock and face the situation,” he said. "This is not the first time we’re facing a grand alliance against us. We took on and defeated the Congress when Trinamool did not exist, and even after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. We are sure people will see through their designs.”