THE Left Front released its first list of candidates on March 7 for the ensuing assembly poll in West Bengal. The first list included 116 candidates; among them 16 are women and 25 candidates are coming from the religious minority communities. Sixty candidates are in the fray for the first time. Left Front chairman Biman Basu announced the names at a press conference. Bengal will witness six-phase polling on seven days from April 4 to May 5.
Basu said that the formation of a greater front is under process to implement the call to oust TMC and save Bengal. He said further that Nationalist Congress Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal have already become part of the extended front and Janata Dal-United and some other parties have also shown keenness to join it. He also said that an understanding with the Congress would ensure no split in anti-TMC votes.
In the published first set of candidate list, CPI(M) West Bengal State Committee Secretary and leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra will be contesting from his previous constituency, Narayangarh of West Medinipur. Besides Mishra, four State Secretariat members will be contesting. Names of nine former ministers of the Left Front government and five former parliamentarians are also in the candidate list.
Mishra has said that it has become the priority to defeat TMC in Bengal to ensure resurrection of democracy and economic advancement of the state. On the other hand, he said, RSS is spreading their units in Bengal during the TMC rule. He said unequivocally that the call of the hour is to oust TMC from Bengal and resist BJP. He said that the people of Bengal are being united and vocal to end the TMC-led misrule. In this context, Mishra said, CPI(M) will discharge its responsibility to strengthen the people’s alliance.
The draft manifesto of the Left Front for the upcoming assembly polls has also been released. The draft manifesto has been published with a call to the people to give their opinion. It has been decided that the public opinion will be gathered till March 12 before finalising the manifesto. The draft manifesto has emphasised the re-establishment of democracy and has stated that defeating TMC is the precondition to weaken BJP. To achieve the said goal, Left Front has welcomed all democratic, secular forces to unite. Such massive unity of the people can only form a secular, democratic government in Bengal.
After elaborating the misrule in Bengal in all spheres for the last five years, the draft manifesto has placed the alternative vision and promises of the Left Front to the people of Bengal. The stress has been given on ensuring freedom of expression, transparent administration, consolidating agricultural production, re-establishment of decentralisation, democratic structure in the education sector, emphasis on big and small industrialisation to guarantee employment of the young generation. Stress has also given on food security where the draft manifesto promises to provide food grains at Rs 2 per kg to the poor and making the public distribution system universal. The draft manifesto has further promised to restrict the chit funds within the proper frame work of law and it has promised further to penalise the chit fund heads and whoever has helped them to flourish.