Guwahati, Wednesday, January 10, 2018
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Left parties agree to avoid mutual contest
PRANJAL BHUYAN
 GUWAHATI, Jan 9 - Constituents of the 11-member Left Democratic Manch (LDM) have reached a broad understanding to avoid mutual contest among themselves during the forthcoming panchayat polls, even though final talks on any formal alliance or seat sharing have yet to start.

“We have held some discussions regarding the panchayat polls among the constituents of the LDM. There is common understanding that the parties of the LDM should not put up candidates against one another,” Deben Bhattacharya, secretary of the Assam State committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), told The Assam Tribune.

Asked about the likelihood of formal talks on seat sharing or alliance, Bhattacharya said, “So far we have not yet reached that stage.”

He also expressed apprehension that the panchayat polls may get delayed.

“During the all-party meeting called by the State Election Commission (SEC) last month, we had demanded that the panchayat polls be held on schedule. Other parties had also expressed a similar view. But the SEC informed us that they need sanction from the State government before announcing the schedule for the elections,” said Bhattacharya.

It is noteworthy that CPI (M)’s apprehensions regarding possibility of delay in holding of the panchayat polls come close on the heels of a similar opinion expressed by the Congress party.

Bhattacharya added that in case the panchayat polls are delayed the State would suffer as Central funds for various rural development projects are tied up to holding of elections in time.

“If the elections are delayed, then the Centre will have to cut off funds as per rules. That will only worsen the situation in rural areas which are already witnessing the ill effects of agrarian distress,” said the veteran Marxist leader.

Meanwhile, the CPI (M) is also gearing up to hold its next State party conference in Guwahati on February 4-6. It will be attended by Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and party’s Politburo members Biman Basu and SR Pillai.

Bhattacharya said that party conferences of all its 22 district committees have been held and delegates elected for the State conference.

The CPI (M) is also likely to carry out a check of its members in the run-up to the party’s national conference which will be held in Hyderabad on April 18-22.

“Three years ago, our party plenum had taken a decision to remove members who are not active. Accordingly, we had removed membership of many of our cadres. Another similar exercise will be carried out soon. We only want people with communist and revolutionary spirit in our party. For us the number of our party cadres is not important. What is important rather is their dedication to the cause,” said Bhattacharya.

The CPI (M) has over 13,300 members in Assam. In addition, the party’s front organisations have a membership of around three lakh in the State.

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