Blend of youth and experience CPI(M)'s mantra for winning back people's confidence in Bengal

The CPI(M) is fielding veterans and newcomers in a bid to win seats in the Lok Sabha polls and make the party's presence felt

Updated - April 15, 2024 12:45 pm IST

Published - April 15, 2024 12:44 pm IST - Kolkata

Srijan Bhattacharya, the CPI (M)‘s candidate from the Jadavpur constituency interacts with voters during an election campaign ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, in Kolkata.File

Srijan Bhattacharya, the CPI (M)‘s candidate from the Jadavpur constituency interacts with voters during an election campaign ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, in Kolkata.File | Photo Credit: ANI

Having fielded several young and new candidates in West Bengal, the CPI(M) is expecting a revival of its fortunes in West Bengal with a blend of youth and experience. The party did not win any seat from the State on 2019.

The CPI(M) is contesting the general elections as part of the Left Front and also in alliance with the Congress. The Left Front is contesting in 30 constituencies and the CPI (M) is fighting in 23 seats.

Mix of young and old candidates

Apart from three former MPs Sujan Chakraborty, Mohammed Salim and Alokesh Das, the CPI(M) has fielded all new candidates, of whom several are young, a party official said.

The party has fielded three leaders from SFI, its students’ wing. SFI Srijan Bhattacharyya, Pratikur Rahaman, Pratikur Rahaman and Dipsita Dhar are contesting on the party’s behalf from Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour and Serampore Lok Sabha seats respectively.

"It's a perfect blend of agility of the youth and experience of the seniors," CPI(M)'s Jadavpur candidate Srijan Bhattacharyya told PTI, echoing the voice of the party's leaders. He claimed that the response of the people is good.

CPI(M) central committee member and candidate from Dum Dum Lok Sabha seat Sujan Chakraborty said that culture of the communist movement is that of a mix of new and old, taking along experience and freshness of the youth together.

The CPI(M) has faced criticism of having gone into a shell after the 2011 defeat in the West Bengal assembly polls and being unable to attract the youth. The party, with renewed vigour, has been espousing new leadership to revive the party for some time.

Asked whether the CPI(M) is going by a long-term plan to bring the red flag back to reckoning in the State, he said, "It is obviously imperative to be far-sighted."

CPI(M)‘s immediate goal

But that the immediate goal of winning some seats in these elections to make the party's presence felt is also important was evident from fielding of old war horses like Mr. Salim and Mr. Chakraborty.

Mr. Salim, CPI(M) state secretary and politburo member, is fighting from the Murshidabad seat.

Asserting that the CPI(M)-led Left Front will emerge victorious in some seats in Bengal this election after having returned empty-handed in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he told PTI, "People are now able to understand that the binary of the TMC and BJP is destroying the State."

He claimed that the vote share of the BJP and the TMC would decrease, leading to an increase in the percentage of votes for the Left and its ally Congress.

The CPI(M)'s vote share in 2019 was around 6.34%, while the TMC and the BJP bagged over 43% and 40% respectively.

Employment generagion in focus

Mr. Rahaman, fielded by the CPI(M) to take on TMC's Abhishek Banerjee in Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas district, is no less upbeat than his SFI mate Srijan Bhattacharya. "Yes, it is a larger world. Till now I used to deal with student matters, now I am getting to be part of the people's issues," he told PTI.

Claiming that industries have left Bengal under the TMC rule leading to a flight of jobs to other States, the young leader lamented, "The booming auto hub in Sanand could well have been in Singur had the Tata Nano factory not gone to Gujarat."

The Tatas had moved its factory to Sanand from Singur in West Bengal's Hooghly district in 2008, following an anti-farmland acquisition movement led by the then opposition leader Mamata Banerjee.

Also read: The tussle between West Bengal government and Tata Motors in Singur | Explained

The parties opposed to the Left Front have held the hardline Leftist trade unionism as a reason for the flight of industries from Bengal, which boasted of being one of the richest among the States till the 1960s.

Among the main issues of the Left party in this election is the creation of job opportunities in the State.

Asked whether the young Turks of the CPI(M) were looking to set their goals in a long-term perspective, Mr. Rahaman said, "It is true we do not have seats, but we are making planned progress."

Stating that the CPI(M) has been trying to regain mass support by bringing in new faces in the last few elections, political analyst Subhomay Maitra said that in some seats their candidates have been able to catch the attention of the people. "It is a welcome decision," he said, maintaining that their clean image is something that can be capitalised on by the party.

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