New Delhi: That the student and youth protests in last few years were linked to electoral politics was proved when the CPI-M – faced with the crucial battle of survival – has banked heavily on youth power and has fielded JNU and other communists-backed organisation leaders. And most of them in their twenties.
JNU student leader Aishe Ghosh, who shot into ‘fame’ during January 2020 protest, will be now trying her electoral fortune from Jamuria.
Delhi Police had named nine students, including Ghosh, in connection with the violence on January 5, 2020. Ghosh, 26, was accused of vandalising the university server room and manhandling the guards.
Leftists are keen to encash on youth power even for Nandigram, it named DYFI Bengal unit president Minakshi Mukherjee to take on two giants of Bengal politics – chief minister Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress and BJP nominee Suvendu Adhikari, a mass-level leader from Nandigram.
Ms Minakshi sounded politically smart and on the first day of her appearance in Nandigram said Suvendu Adhikari should be called ‘ex-Trinamool than a BJP candidate’.
For his part, Suvendu also shot back saying, “Do you all know who decided CPI-M candidate’s name in Nandigram, it was Mamata Banerjee”.
Earlier, it was given out the Left-Congress and ISF combine would field a candidate from ISF as the constituency has about 30 per cent Muslim votes. Such a move could have harmed Mamata’s minority vote share more; but the opposition alliance changed their decision raising suspicions.
However, differences have surfaced among Left partners as well.
The RSP and the All India Forward Bloc — two Left Front constituents — in Malda region have decided to walk out of the Left-Congress-ISF alliance.
The CPI-M will contest three of 12 Assembly seats in the district — Englishbazar, Habibpur and Gazole — and nine seats have been left for the Congress. But now, the RSP and Forward Bloc have decided to contest nine Assembly seats.
Forward Bloc is unnerved as Congress did not reciprocate the alliance Dharma. The Forward Bloc had fought against the Congress in Harischandrapur, also a leftist forte till 2011. They offered Harischandrapur to Congress and wanted another seat. The plea was simply rejected.
Now, the Forward Bloc says it will sweat it out in four seats and ‘teach’ lesson to Congress.
Similarly, the RSP said they would field candidates in five seats where Congress would be having their nominees.
All these could end up helping either the Trinamool Congress or the BJP, which otherwise is likely to get benefits of polarised atmosphere in at least four seats in Malda region. Lately, Trinamool members in Malda Zilla Parishad defected to the BJP camp giving saffron party the control on the civic body.
Meanwhile in Kerala, all eyes are on CPI-M moves to woo Hindus and Christians – the same vote bank the BJP is banking on.
Numerically, Christians form some 18 percent of the state’s 33 million people. However, observers think Christians can turn the tables in many segments. The saffron party has only one seat in the 140-seat legislative assembly but has made grounds lately. It did well in recent panchayat polls too.
Hindus in Kerala, who form 55 percent of the state’s population, have mostly voted for left-wing parties till the BJP has emerged as a challenging force.
Eyeing Christian votes, the BJP and also the Left leaders have been claiming that the Congress-led UDF is controlled by its ally Indian Union of Muslim League.
The CPI-M, which is trying to write a fresh history by returning to power in the southern state, has alleged that the IUML is a bridge between the UDF and the Islamic fundamentalists Jamaat-e-Islami.
On the other hand if Hindus and Christians make some sort of a combine, the BJP’s campaign would get a boost.
A section of Orthodox Christians have come out in support of the BJP in the Chengannur constituency. The development came in the CPI-M-held assembly segment after BJP-RSS intervention helped save a 1,000-year-old Orthodox church from demolition.
Notably, in 2016 assembly polls, the Lotus party had polled over 15 per cent of the votes in Chengannur and thus there is hope that BJP candidate R Balashankar might do well here.
In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had taken lead in Jamuria assembly segment under Asansol parliamentary seat. The CPI-M’s “younger list” in Bengal included SFI state president Srijan Bhattacharya, DYFI state secretary Sayandeep Mitra, SFI secretary Pratikur Rahaman, and SFI’s national joint secretary Dipsita Dhar.
In Diamond Harbour (political hub of Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee), the CPI-M candidate will be Pratikur Rahaman.
Among the list of Left candidates, actor Debdut Ghosh will be CPI-M candidate from Tollygunj.
In Rajarhat-Newtown, the Marxists have decided to field Saptarshi Deb, the son of former minister Gautam Deb who had worked metamorphosis of Rajarhat into a new township.
Dynastic issue seems to be no bar and thus Pritha Tah, the daughter of slain CPI-M leader Pradip Tah, has been fielded from Burdwan South.
Once the dominant force in West Bengal, the CPI(M) had won only 26 seats in the 2016 state polls.