Inspired by the massive public turnout at the meeting at Chandipur, East Midnapore, on January 5, the CPI(M) is planning to kick off its panchayat poll campaigns from those pockets and districts in Bengal from which they were virtually wiped out during both the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and the 2011 state assembly elections.
Accordingly, the party is lining up a series of mega rallies and meeting, to be attended and addressed by top party leaders. Most of these meetings would be concentrated in those districts where the party fared most poorly in the last few elections.
East Midnapore, Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas and Murshidabad in south Bengal, and Malda, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri in the north will be among the venues for these meetings.
The Left Front was unable to open their account at all in the 2011 elections in East Midnapore, Howrah, Kolkata and Darjeeling and the party’s electoral performance has been nearly equally pathetic in the other districts as well in both 2009 and 2011.
In East Midnapore, Nadia, Howrah, 24 Parganas (North and South) and Kolkata, the Left was unable to win a single seat during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Party sources said it has been a conscious decision by the CPI(M) to start the task of repairing grounds from the very pockets where the damage was worst.
“Starting the process from such districts might appear quite tough at the start. But once the process starts, it will be easier at a later stage to consolidate our positions gradually throughout the state and, hence, we have taken a conscious decision to start the process from the weakest pockets,” a CPI(M) central committee member said. One of the party’s state committee members pointed out yet another reason for kicking off the campaign tempo from the weakest areas.
“We have notices that the anger of the people is maximum in those districts where the Left Front had no standing in the last few elections and where the post-election violence unveiled by the ruling force had been maximum not only against our leaders and supporters but by the public in general. Again, it is worthwhile noticing that factional in fighting in the Trinamool Congress is also maximum here. So, this is the right time to start the ground-repair work in these districts, with active participation from the public in general,” the state committee leader said.
At the Chandipur meeting on January 6, former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya had to reach the meeting venue by motorcycle, following the pressure of spontaneous gathering of huge crowds. Similarly, at a meeting last month at Krishnagarh in Nadia district, considered yet another Trinamool stronghold, more than one lakh individuals assembled to hear a speech delivered by leader of Opposition in the Bengal assembly, Surya Kanta Mishra.