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Mamata outpost faces red fusillade

Left Front has pulled up socks to ensure defeat of Trinamool's in the crucial Islampur constituency of the district.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 21:37 IST

Trinamool Congress’s lone bastion in North Bengal is under pressure of being wiped as the ruling Left Front has pulled up socks to ensure defeat of Mamata Banerjee’s party in the crucial Islampur constituency of the district. So has the Congress.

In 70 constituencies, spanning Cooch Behar and Nadia districts, TNC managed to win only one seat in the 2001 Assembly poll. That was Islampur. Party candidate Abdul Karim Chowdhury romped home with a slim margin.

While the Trinamool has re-nominated Chowdhury from the constituency slated to go to the polls on May 8, the CPI-M has fielded Muhammad Faruque Azam, considered a local heavyweight. “It would be difficult for the Trinamool to win this time,” CPI-M campaign manager Dipankar Das told the Hindustan Times. The constituency has 1,53,748 voters.

The Left Front members, who started campaigning last fortnight said they were confident of a victory this time. Interestingly, since the 1991 Assembly election, the LF candidate, Muhammad Faruque Azam, had been reducing his margin against Abdul Karim Chowdhury. In 1991, Chowdhury had polled 44,237 votes, against Azam's 29,134. The difference narrowed in 1996 and 2001.

Yet Chowdhury managed to retain the edge. The LF is on a micro-level campaign — going from door-to-door and staging road shows in the constituency, a large part of which falls along the National Highway 34. Darjeeling pact The BJP has decided to align with the People’s Democratic Front instead of the GNLF in the Darjeeling Hills. The party had earlier pinned its hopes on GNLF chief Subhas Ghising for an alliance in exchange of support to the 6th Schedule demand, which figured high on the GNLF agenda. For the PDF, the development is a kind of a windfall.

First Published: Mar 28, 2006 12:38 IST