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Three-way contest, an advantage for CPI-M in West Bengal
March 31, 2006 11:55 IST
Notwithstanding the efforts made by Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamta Banerjee to form an alliance against the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led ruling Left Front, the coming assembly election in West Bengal will witness a three-cornered contest giving electoral advantage to the Left Front.
The TC chief had given the call for a grand alliance comprising her party, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress in an attempt to prevent the split in anti-Left votes and give a tough fight to the ruling Front.
But with Congress' refusal to be a part of the TC-led 'Gana Front' due to BJP's presence in it, the concept of a grand alliance remained a non-starter.
Political analysts feel that the CPI(M)-led LF would benefit from the three-way contest as anti-Left votes would get split in that scenario.
The ruling Front had secured nearly 49 per cent votes in the 2001 Assembly election in the state with its dominant partner CPI-M alone getting almost 37 per cent votes.
On the other hand, Trinamool Congress which had fought the poll in alliance with Congress after snapping ties with the National Democratic Alliance, had managed to get nearly 39 per cent of which TC's vote share was slightly over 30 per cent.
BJP, which had fielded candidates in 266 constituencies, on its own bagged 5.19 per cent votes.
Quoting poll statistics, the analysts say the ruling Left Front had further improved its position in 2004 Lok Sabha poll by securing over 50.71 per cent votes with CPI-M bettering its performance with 38.55 per cent votes.
Trinamool Congress' fortune had suffered with the party's vote share coming down to 21.08 per cent in 2004.
They feel that it would be an oversimplified statement to say that only coming together of TC, BJP and Congress would throw out Left Front from power. But such an alliance could have posed a tough challenge to the CPI-M-led Front.
In 2001 assembly election, TC and Congress which had jointly fought the poll, bagged 86 seats of which 60 seats were in the Trinamool kitty.
In a last ditch attempt to rope in Congress, the TC supremo had announced names of only 201 candidates of her 'Gana Front' leaving 93 seats, but with Congress turning down her proposal, her efforts to stop vote split had come a cropper.
Refused to be cowed down, she cited the case of Bihar saying the neighbouring state had also witnessed a three-cornered contest in the last assembly poll, yet the Janata Dal (United)-BJP combine had got convincing majority.
In this scenario, TC's stategy would be to present itself as the only opposition party in the state against the CPI-M.
"We will ask the electorate not to waste their votes by giving it to others. A vote for Congress will mean a vote for CPI-M," Banerjee has said.
The tough attitude of the Election Commission to ensure a free and fair election, has also raised hope in the opposition camp to do well this time.
The analysts say that the untimely death of CPI-M state secretary Anil Biswas might come as a blow to the party, but it might also create a resolve among the party cadres to work hard to form the seventh Left Front government.