Rift between Bengal CPM and RSP over contesting against 4-time Congress MP
A rift has developed between Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Revolutionary Socialist Party in Bengal with the latter contesting a Lok Sabha seat held by a four-time Congress MP despite a decision taken by Left Front partners to stay away.
RSP is contesting the Berhampore seat in Murshidadad district held by former state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. This has become an embarrassment for both Congress and the Marxists since the parties decided not to contest each other in three constituencies although a formal alliance for the state’s remaining 39 seats did not work out. The three seats where consensus was reached are Berhampore, Jadavpur and Malda South.
In a bid to clarify the CPI(M)’s stand, the party’s Bengal state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said at an election rally on Saturday that RSP’s Berhampore candidate Id Mohammad is not a Left Front nominee.
On April 5, RSP went against the Left Front’s decision and fielded former Bharatpur MLA Id Mohammad. RSP leaders argued that except for the period between 1984 and 1989, they held the seat from 1952 to 1999 when Chowdhury was first elected.
In fact, RSP’s former MP from the seat, Pramothes Mukherjee, contested against Chowdhury in 2014 as well but faced defeat. This time around, a Left nominee in the fray may lead to more division in votes and help Trinamool Congress and BJP which has risen fast in the region, CPI(M) and Congress leaders feel.
“During talks on seat sharing we decided to leave some seats. We made our assessment on the basis of vote shares in 2014. The RSP candidate from Berhampore is not a Left Front candidate,” Mishra said.
RSP district secretary Biswanath Banerjee said it would have made everyone happy if Id Mohammad was fielded as Left Front candidate. “RSP has to campaign on its own because it is apparent that CPI(M) will stay away.”
“I have nothing to say on this,” said Chowdhury who won the seat in 2014 by securing around 3.56 lakh votes more than his nearest rival, TMC’s Indranil Sen.