Left now eyes 62 'marginal' seats from south Bengal | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Left now eyes 62 'marginal' seats from south Bengal

The outcome of the Battle for Bengal now rests on the results of not more than 62 of the 294 assembly constituencies. At least, this is what the CPI(M) strategists at Alimuddin Street believe. Tanmay Chatterjee reports.

kolkata Updated: Apr 22, 2011 14:10 IST
Tanmay Chatterjee

The outcome of the Battle for Bengal now rests on the results of not more than 62 of the 294 assembly constituencies. At least, this is what the CPI(M) strategists at Alimuddin Street believe. Labelled 'marginal' seats, these constituencies may swing either way, deciding what hue Writers' Buildings will finally wear.

Deep into the elections now, Alimuddin Street believes that the fate of 232 seats has been more or less decided given the polarisation in Bengal politics after Singur and Nandigram.

Interestingly, most of the 62 seats that the CPI(M) has identified are all in South Bengal, where the Trinamool Congress has made deep inroads. The party now feels that these five dozen seats, spread across Kolkata, Burdwan, Hooghly, East Midnapore and the North and South 24-Parganas, will be the deciding factor in the most crucial elections since 1977.

CPI(M) leaders are reluctant to identify the seats, but some of them admit that the colour of the next government will depend upon the mandate passed by less than 20% of the voters. A recent survey conducted by the party has also shown that the percentage of "undecided" voters has gone up after the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. This has prompted chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his team to concentrate on such marginal seats as Kolkata Port, Aushgram in Burdwan, or Maheshtala in the South 24-Parganas, which are among what the party feels are "winnable" seats.

"If you analyse the results of the last panchayat, civic and Lok Sabha polls, you'll see that the Left Front and the Opposition shared 80-82% of the votes polled. It's the remaining 18-20% that made all the difference," said CPI(M) state secretariat member Shyamal Chakraborty. "Whoever succeeds in securing a major chunk of this remaining 18-20% will form the next government. Every vote counts," he added.