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CPI(M), Cong go soft on Secular Front’s Diamond Harbour demand for 2024

Kolkata, Nov 12 (IANS) The lone All India Secular Front (AISF) representative in the West Bengal assembly, Naushad Siddique, made two significant announcements in the past week.

The first was his wish to contest from the minority-dominated Diamond Harbour constituency in South 24 Parganas district in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.The sitting Lok Sabha member from Diamond Harbour is the Trinamool Congress’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.

The second announcement was about the AISF’s plans to contest independently in a number of constituencies in several districts of West Bengal, where the minorities make up a sizable proportion of the voters, enough to decide the fate of the candidates.

The announcement by Siddique puzzled the CPI(M) leadership in West Bengal but within a couple of days after his announcement, the Marxist leadership signalled to him that they are willing to support his claim for Diamond Harbour provided the AISF does not lay claim to other minority-dominated constituencies in the state. The CPI(M) also signalled of taking up the matter with its ally in West Bengal, the Congress.

As per the information, even a majority of the Congress leadership is not against supporting Siddique’s claims to Diamond Harbour, provided he does not eye other minority-dominated constituencies especially in the erstwhile Congress stronghold districts like Malda and Murshidabad,

Political observers are of the opinion that despite being an extremely strong CPI(M)- stronghold from 1967 to 2009, since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections the erosion in both the CPI(M)’s vote bank and organizational network in Diamond Harbour started and currently the party’s strength in the constituency is negligible.

“So from the CPI(M) point of view, their leadership will have nothing much to lose if they forgo claims on this particular Lok Sabha constituency. As for the Congress, it was never a factor in Diamond Harbour since 1967. So they too have no major interest in Diamond Harbour. However, if by foregoing claims on Diamond Harbour in favour of Siddique, the AISF leadership can be persuaded to forego claims on other minority-dominated constituencies in the state, the deal will be beneficial for both the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the Congress,” said a city- based political observer.

Secondly, feel observers, the leaderships of both the CPI(M) and the Congress understand very well that the eventual three-cornered contest between the Trinamool Congress, AISF andthe BJP in Diamond Harbour will put the ruling party leadership, especially Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee under pressure, with the focus of the pre-poll campaign shifting more to this constituency compared to the remaining 41 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

This is exactly what happened in the 2011 assembly elections to the CPI(M) and the then West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in Jadavpur assembly constituency.Understanding that the contest was the toughest since the CPI(M)-led Left Front regime came to power in 1977 and continued till 2011, the entire concentration of Bhattacharjee was focused on Jadavpur rather than on the remaining assembly constituencies.

However, despite that focus on Jadavpur, the erstwhile chief minister was defeated by the Trinamool Congress candidate and former West Bengal chief secretary Manish Gupta.

Even the Trinamool Congress leadership does not seem to be taking the AISF and Siddique factor for Diamond Harbour lightly. Its leadership has already started drawing a comparison between the AISF and the Asaduddin Owaisi-founded All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

The argument is that just as the AIMIM is working as a clandestine partner of the BJP in other states by dividing the minority votes, the intention of the AISF and Siddique is the same in West Bengal to benefit the saffron camp.

However, Siddique does not want to give any importance to this line of propaganda by the Trinamool Congress. “As I said earlier, the only reason why the AISF refused to be part of the grand opposition I,N.D.I.A alliance is because of the Trinamool Congress’s presence there. I wish to contest from Diamond Harbour and make the sitting MP from there a former MP. Trinamool Congress seems to be extremely scared since I announced the decision to contest from Diamond Harbour” Siddique said.



Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad is a news channel and fortnightly newspaper meant for Australia’s Indian community and, besides news, focuses on lifestyle subjects like health, travel, culture, arts, beauty, fashion, entertainment, Bollywood, etc. Our YouTube channel here features daily news bulletins besides infotainment videos on lifestyle subjects.

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