New faces in Bengal candidate lists mark a departure

Political parties bracing for the crucial April-May Assembly polls in West Bengal have put up a number of new faces, marking a departure after many years in the composition of candidate lists.

Updated: Mar 29, 2011, 18:56 PM IST

Kolkata: Political parties bracing for the
crucial April-May Assembly polls in West Bengal have put up a
number of new faces, marking a departure after many years in
the composition of candidate lists.

The ruling Left Front, facing its toughest battle since
1977 when it came to power, leads the pack by injecting fresh
blood in almost half of the total 294 constituencies, throwing
out some prominent, but tainted names.

Veteran Left Front leader and general secretary of the
state Forward Bloc Ashok Ghosh told PTI that some ministers
against whom there was public resentment on account of their
non-performance have been dropped.
``Similarly, some sitting MLAs of the Left Front and
leaders against whom there were complaints of high-handedness,
the opportunists and those who worked for personal
aggrandisement at people`s back were denied nomination,``
Ghosh said.

Ghosh, the senior most leader in the Left Front, however,
pointed out that in some cases legislators faced with old age
and health complications have been replaced by fresh blood.
CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat said recently the
broad rule was that those who had two terms in the Assembly
would not be put up again.

But, exceptions were made in the cases of Chief Ministers
of West Bengal and Kerala Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and V S
Achuthanandan respectively, taking into account their vast
experience in running state governments.

The Left list has 149 new faces including Fuad Halim, son
of outgoing Speaker Hasim Abdul Halim, in the prestigious
Ballygunge constituency, and 25-year-old Shatarup Ghosh in
Kasba constituency who is the Left front`s youngest candidate.

As many as nine ministers, including four junior
ministers, are among the 80 sitting MLAs who have been dropped
from the candidate list. Of them, Forward Bloc`s Rabindranath
Ghosh and CPI`s Nandagopal Bhattacharjee have been denied
tickets because of ill-health.

While senior CPI-M minister Partha De from Bankura
volunteered to skip the polls, Tourism Minister Manab
Mukherjee relinquished his claim on Beliaghata to make way for
Anadi Sahu, the Labour Minister.

The changes are expected to blunt the sting of the
opposition parties` campaign on the so-called lavish
lifestyle of ruling Marxists, Left Front insiders said.

The Left Front introduced new faces in most of the 14
seats in Maoist-hit Jangalmahal. Controversial faces like
former Haldia strongman Laxman Seth, Lagandeo Singh from
Howrah and Majid Ali from Sashan in North 24-Parganas district
were dropped.

PTI