Age takes over CPM,hunts for new blood

Despite repeated attempts,a regimented party like the CPM has failed to announce its list of candidates for the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Written by Bidyut Roy | Kolkata | Published:February 28, 2009 2:46 am

Despite repeated attempts,a regimented party like the CPM has failed to announce its list of candidates for the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Normally,the party is the first to announce its candidate list every election. In February,the top brass met at the Alimuddin Street headquarters several times to finalise nominations for 32 Lok Sabha seats it contests in Bengal. But there was no unanimity of choice,even after hours ¿ which could be one reason why the list has been withheld till now.

The seats that are proving to be most contentious are Malda (North),Bongaon,Murshidabad,Birbhum and Arambagh.Yet another feature of the CPM nomination is that in a majority of seats the party is contesting,the candidates are not being replaced,indicating that no fresh blood is being infused in the top level.

Those getting nomination are mostly second generation leaders who joined the party in the mid-sixties.

“Most of the candidates have been around for ages. (see box) It seems this time too,the party will not be able to put forward fresh,new faces,” said a central committee member who has been a part of the selection team.

This time,the party had to face stiff opposition from its district-level leaders who wanted a change from long-serving MPs — especially those elected over thrice. But the district committee leaders cited the results of May 2008 pancahyat polls and asked state leaders to maintain status quo. “So even MPs who have been around for seven terms are also likely to get tickets,” said a senior leader.

According to party sources,it has already been decided that two ministers will contest the LS polls — Environment minister Sailen Sarkar from Malda (North) and Animal Resources Development minister Anisur Rahaman from Murshidabad. Interestingly,Ram Chandra Dom,a five-time MP will get a ticket this time too,even though his constituency was declared reserved. Dom will contest from Bolpur,where Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was being elected since 1984. The Bolpur seat has been declared a reserved seat this time. Sources in Birbhum CPM said it was very difficult for the party to select a candidate in Bolpur.

LF constituents are also facing problems in candidate selection. Forward Bloc and the RSP could not finalise their nominations,because they want to change some of their candidates. The Bloc has already decided to replace their sitting MP from Barasat while the RSP will change its candidate for Joynagar. “They have requested Front chairman Biman Bose to wait till March 2. Accordingly,he called the Left Front for endorsement of the list,” said a senior leader of the Left Front. “We will forward our list to Bose before the Front meet. Our Barasat MP has declared he will not contest,” said Hafiz Alam Sairani.

* Basudeb Achariya
CPM Bankura: Eight-time MP since 1980
Age: 66

* Hannan Mollah
CPM Ulberia: Eight-time MP since 1980
Age: 64

* Ajay Chakraborty
CPI Basirhat: Eight-time MP since 1996
Age: 65

* Tarit Baran Topdar
CPM Barrackpur: Five-time MP since 1996
Age: 67

* Rupchand Pal
CPM Hoogly: Eight-time MP since 1980
Age: 72

* Swadesh Chakraborty
CPM Howrah: Former mayor of Howrah Municipal Corporation,two-time MP
Age: 65

* Laxman Seth
CPI Tamluk: Four-time MLA in West Bengal Legislative Assembly,three-time member of Lok Sabha since 1996
Age: 62

* Prasanta Pradhan
CPM Contai: Four-time MLA since 1971 and member of Lok Sabha since 2004
Age: 69

* Ramchandra Dom
CPM Birbhum: Six-time member of Lok Sabha since 1989
Age: 49

* Gurudas Dasgupta
CPI Paskura: Three-time member in Rajya Sabha,member in Lok Sabha since 2004
Age: 72

* Santasree Chatterjee
CPM Sreerampore: Seven-time MLA and member of Lok Sabha in 2004
Age: 68

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