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Left parties to take BJP head on in panchayat polls
Pranjal Bhuyan
 GUWAHATI, Nov 7 - The major Left parties are about to complete selection of candidates for the forthcoming panchayat polls in the State any day now.

 The Left will be contesting the elections by portraying the ruling BJP as the primary enemy.

Leaders of both the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) told The Assam Tribune that though there is no formal alliance among them, the Left will try to seek some sort of adjustments in the local level and avoid contest against one another.

“The district units of our party have almost finalised the candidates for the panchayat elections. Now we will begin our poll campaign in full swing. Our political slogan for the polls will be ‘Defeat the BJP’. The ruling party has launched a vicious attack on democracy as well as on the system of devolution of power. We will call upon the voters to elect candidates from the CPI(M) and other Left parties so that we can establish panchayats free of corruption and nepotism,” central committee member of CPI(M) Suprakash Talukdar told this newspaper.

He admitted that there will be no formal alliance among the 11-member Left Democratic Manch (LDM) for the panchayat elections.

“Having a formal alliance is difficult in panchayat polls. But we will definitely try to ensure that there is no contest among the constituents of LDM,” Talukdar said.

He added, “The peculiarity about Assam is that various Left parties have their main support base in different geographical areas. We do not have a mass base in those places where the CPI is strong and vice versa. In most places of Lower Assam, for example, we have a strong influence but not the CPI or the CPI (ML) Liberation. So chances of inter-Left fight are slim. But we will still try to reach at least some sort of a minimum understanding with other constituents of LDM.”

Talukdar said that LDM parties may even make a joint appeal to the electorate of Assam before voting takes place.

The CPI(M), on its own, is mainly focusing in the districts of Kamrup, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Sonitpur, Cachar, Karimganj, Dhemaji and Lakhimpur during the polls.

“We will mostly be contesting for gaon panchayat (GP) and anchalik panchayat (AP) seats. As far as zila parishad (ZP) constituencies are concerned, we will put up candidates in only select districts where our presence in strong,” said the senior Marxist leader.

The CPI(M) is expected to come out with its public ‘declaration’ for the panchayat polls by next week.

Meanwhile, CPI has also put its priority on “isolating” the BJP.

“Our final candidate list is expected within a day or two. We will contest mainly for GP wards. We will be contesting in at least 1,000 GP wards across the State. For the AP and ZP seats, we will try to arrive at some sort of understanding with other Left and democratic forces. While we do not have any formal alliance with any other party for the panchayat polls, we will take care to see that the Left parties do not pit candidates against each other,” Munin Mahanta, secretary of Assam State unit of CPI, said.

He added that CPI will be in race mostly in districts like Sivasagar, Lakhimpur, Morigaon, Golaghat and Dibrugarh.

“We will go to the electorate with the message to make the panchayats free from the BJP. Our priority is to have ‘BJP free panchayats’ which are oriented towards development and are free from corruption,” said the veteran Communist leader.

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