Buddha sweats it out at Jadavpur against two former colleagues

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is holding meetings or roadshows almost daily.

Updated: Apr 14, 2011, 13:09 PM IST

Kolkata: Facing the task of steering the
Left front out of harm`s way in the West Bengal Assembly polls, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also finds himself challenged by two former colleagues in the Jadavpur

The two candidates are Manish Gupta of the Trinamool
Congress, who retired as chief secretary during
Bhattacharjee`s chief ministership, and former CPI(M) South
24-Paragans district secretary Samir Putatunda who is a
candidate of the Party for Democratic Socialism.

The constituency, where there are another 10 candidates,
including six independents, in fray and comprises 10 wards of
the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, is a CPI(M) stronghold
never failing to elect party candidates since 1972.
Understandably, Bhattacharjee, the face of Left Front, is
giving a lions`s share of his time to the constituency holding
meetings or roadshows almost daily.

He has been winning from the constituency since 1987 and
in the last Assembly election in 2006 he had won by a margin
of 58,130 votes.
But a worrying factor for him is that in the 2009 Lok
Sabha elections CPI(M) candidate Sujan Chakraborty had a
lead of only 19,077 votes from the Jadavpur segment and
lost the parliamentary seat to Trinamool`s Kabir Suman.

Moreover, in the 2010 Kolkata Municipal Corporation
elections, the CPI(M) lost six wards under the Jadavpur
Assembly constituency, trailing behind Trinamool by a total of
10,927 votes. In the remaining four wards, the CPI(M) won by
an aggregate margin of 10,235 votes.

Adding to the CPI(M)`s worries, Trinamool Congress chief
Mamata Banerjee, with Manish Gupta at her side, held a mammoth
padayatra on April 3, covering several constituencies,
including Jadavpur.

As Banerjee walked the 12-km route from Gariahat to
Garia in one of the most successful roadshows organised by
Trinamool Congress, people participated overwhelmingly to
catch a glimpse of the leader widely perceived to be the next
chief minister of the state.

In a counter-offensive on April 9, the CPI(M) launched
the chief minister on a roadshow almost following the route
taken by the Trinamool Congress chief the previous weekend.

While Banerjee walked the entire length of her roadshow,
Bhattacharjee travelled on an open jeep in the middle of a
mighty procession of CPI(M) activists and supporters.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna had yesterday said that India will take up with Pakistan the claims made by Rana.

"We are in constant touch with the Pakistan government through our diplomatic channels," Krishna had said.

However, he had made it clear that the dialogue process with Pakistan will continue.

"These are two different aspects. Peace talks will go on, cricket matches will go on and simultaneously our relentless efforts will continue to bring to justice all those responsible for the heinous crime against India in Mumbai," Krishna had said.

"There are no contradictions in that position," he had said when asked whether the revelations made by Rana would have an impact on India-Pakistan peace talks.

On Rana`s claim that the ISI and Pakistan government officials were masterminds of 26/11, the External Affairs Minister had said, "Things will have to be verified... It is
our hope and expectation that those responsible for the attacks have to be brought to justice. The US has publicly committed to that position."