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CPM banks on Congress to open its account in Bengal blockbuster

CPM banks on Congress to open its account in Bengal blockbuster

CPM flagKOLKATA: The third phase of the parliamentary polls in West Bengal due on May 7 has an interesting aspect of it: the CPM is now forced to ally with the Congress that was once its bête noir. With no MP from the state in the 2019 elections, the CPM is now trying to ride piggyback on Congress to open its account. The four constituencies of Malda Uttar, Malda Dakshin, Jangipur and Murshidabad are considered the Congress bastion.

Another aspect of the third phase is the virtual split in the INDIA bloc. Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee, who participated in a few meetings of the bloc and claimed to have given the name to the alliance, has fielded decided candidates from all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State. She blamed the Congress for not being able to reach an electoral understanding.

Out of the four seats, the BJP won Malda Uttar, Congress wrested Malda Dakshin and Trinamool had won Jangipur and Murshidabad in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The BJP has launched a mega campaign not only in Malda but also in Murshidabad. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have campaigned in Malda while BJP chief J.P. Nadda has held rallies in Murshidabad. Ms. Banerjee and Trinamool general secretary Abhishek Banerjee are campaigning extensively in the region.

Maladies of Malda South

Trinamool candidate Shahnawaz Ali Raihan is pitted against BJP’s Sreerupa Mitra. Born in Malda, the Trinamool candidate has a grip over local issues, including the river erosion and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Raihan says CAA is not only anti-Muslim, it is also anti-Bengali. “The BJP experiment in Assam proves it. There is a deliberate attempt to mock the Bengali identity and food habits,” says Raihan who is associated with anti-CAA protests over the years. The Union Home Ministry on March 11 published the rules relating to the Act and the Trinamool leadership has been criticising it ever since.

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