CPI-M pits newcomer against Pranab in Lok Sabha polls

March 3rd, 2009 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March (IANS) Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will face an old foe while External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will be up against a relative lightweight in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal.
Banerjee won in 2004 against Communist Party of India-Marxist’s (CPI-M) Rabin Deb, who is known for his organisational skills, by 98,429 votes.

This year, the CPI-M has again fielded Deb against the Trinamool supremo in the Kolkata (south) seat.

The CPI-M leadership feels that Dev, a former legislator from Ballygunge, will be able to throw a tough challenge to Banerjee as he is very familiar to the voters of the constituency.

“We believe Deb will be able to reduce the previous margin as a number of minority-populated areas have now been included in Kolkata (south) constituency. Deb will be a strong contender,” a CPI-M leader said.

But Trinamool workers seem convinced that Banerjee, who has been winning the Kolkata (south) Lok Sabha seat since 1991, would have a cakewalk this time with the Congress also deciding to support her.

“Our margin will go up considerably as the people of West Bengal want a change,” said a Trinamool worker.

Against Mukherjee, the ruling Left Front has fielded a new face, Mriganka Bhattacharya of the CPI-M, in Murshidabad district’s Jangipur seat.

Last time CPI-M’s A. Hasnat Khan lost to Mukherjee by over 36,000 votes.

Mukherjee, who tested his maiden Lok Sabha victory in 2004, has been repeatedly visiting his constituency.

Congress workers feel the development works undertaken by Mukheree in the constituency and his stature as the second most important man in the government after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would see him through.

The deputy leader of the CPI-M in the outgoing Lok Sabha, Mohammed Salim, has been renominated from the newly curved out Kolkata (north) seat.

One of the most articulate CPI-M MPs, Salim might have to lock horns with either former Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member Sudip Bandhopadhyay or former state Congress president Somen Mitra.

Bandhopadhyay, the Trinamool chief whip in the Lok Sabha till 2004, had returned to Mamata Banerjee’s party a couple of months back after a stint in the Congress.

Baharampur in Murshidabad district would also see a battle between two old rivals - Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury and Revolutionary Socialist Party’s Pramathesh Mukherjee.

Murshidabad strongman Chowdhury has several court cases against him, with his opponents time and again raking up his alleged criminal past.

But his loyalists have little doubt about his victory because of the work he is sid to have undertaken for the entire district.

The Left Front has fielded a new face, Jibesh Sarkar, in the Darjeeling constituency.

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