The Left Front Wednesday carried out the expected purge in its candidate list for West Bengal. In a front led by a party whose candidates are frequently between ages 60 and 70, at least 16 candidates this time are below 40. The CPM-led front also introduced 25 new faces among 42, though it also has retained 10 sitting MPs.
The youngest candidate in 2009 was 50, and that for 2014 is 25. “This is the first election in three decades that we are not in power. People always ask us why there are so many older candidates. So we have introduced 25 new faces,” said Left Front chairman Biman Bose. Senior CPM leaders said former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has been pressing for a long time for young faces in the election.
The party has fielded a dozen MLAs and former MLAs. Of these, the most prominent are ministers Ashim Dasgupta, Debesh Das and Mortaza Hossain.
Unlike the Trinamool Congress list, the Left Front one has no singers or actors. “We never thought of this that. We wanted to field those comrades who have worked for the people,” said Bose.
The youngest in the list is Sheikh Ibrahim Ali, 25, the CPM candidate from Tamluk, who he will fight against sitting MP Subhendu Adhikary. Another young candidate is Rinku Sarkar, 28, who is a councillor in Kolkata.
“Ibrahim is a very good organiser. Rinku, a Jadavpur University alumnus, roams around her ward on a bicycle, and is dedicated and fearless,” said Sujan Chakraborty, CPM candidate from Jadavpur.
The sitting MPs retained include Pulin Behai Baskey, Probodh Panda, Narahari Mahato, Basudeb Acharia in Bankura and Sushmita Barui. The Left Front list has 12 Muslims and six women.
The Samajwadi Party, which had asked for a couple of seats, has not been accommodated in the list. “We have some allies who asked for seats, but we could not accommodate them. We will talk to them ,” Bose said.