CPI(M) fields candidate in Nandigram against Mamata, Suvendu

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(Adding detail) Kolkata, Mar 10 (PTI) The Congress-Left Front-ISF alliance on Wednesday chose CPI(M) youth wing state president Minakshi Mukherjee to contest from Nandigram seat where a war of titans is on the cards with the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and her protege-turned rival Suvendu Adhikari locked in a keen contest.

Left Front Chairman Biman Bose announced candidature of Minakshi Mukherjee, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) West Bengal unit president, for the high-profile Nandigram constituency which will see voting on April 1.

Announcing the names of the Left Front candidates for last six of the eight-phase elections in West Bengal, Bose said several of those nominated are below 40 years of age, with some being as young as 26 or 27 years old.

'Nandigram seat has become a hot spot,' Bose said at a press conference at the CPI(M) headquarters here, acknowledging the attention that the constituency has garnered not only in the state but across the country.

Earlier, speculation was rife that Indian Secular Front of the Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui will field its nominee from Nandigram, but the seat went to the Left Front.

DYFI is an associated youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

In a bid to infuse fresh blood in the party and to hold on to young supporters, the Left Front has chosen a number of new candidates for the 2021 assembly elections in the state, Bose said.

The CPI(M) also fielded veteran leaders like politburo member Mohammad Salim from Chanditala and Left leader in the outgoing assembly Sujan Chakraborty from Jadavpur segment.

CPI state secretary Swapan Banerjee said that since alliance partner ISF has expressed its unwillingness to contest the Nandigram seat, it will be contested by the CPI(M).

The ISF will get to fight in one seat from the CPI(M) kitty in exchange, he said.

The Nandigram seat, which was earlier contested by the LF partner CPI, has been given to the CPI(M) this time, Banerjee said.

Nandigram constituency was with the Left Front till the TMC snatched it from them in 2011. Trinamool Congress Suvendu Adhikari won the seat again in 2016.

The CPI candidate had got 26.70 per cent votes in the 2016 elections, securing the runner-up position behind TMC candidate Suvendu Adhikari, who garnered 67.20 per cent votes.

The BJP, which had managed to get only 5.40 per cent votes in the last assembly elections from Nandigram, has surged ahead of the Left Front as the main challenger to the TMC for the elections on the seat in the second phase, with Adhikari being the saffron party candidate against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Announcing the names of LF candidates for most seats which have been allotted to it in the alliance with the Congress and the ISF, Bose said that consensus is yet to be arrived at for some seats.

While the Left Front announced the names of candidates for the first two phases on March 5, it came up with the names for most seats allotted to it for the remaining six phases on Wednesday.

'Consensus has not yet been achieved for some seats among the alliance partners,' Bose said.

He said that since West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC) president is in Delhi, parleys are being held through letters with him and as such final decision on some seats is yet to be achieved.

He said that the ISF leadership is also busy with some programme so understanding on some seats have not yet been completed with it.

Bose said that the Congress and the ISF will announce their respective candidates for the seats from which they will be contesting.

The Congress has announced names of candidates from several seats where they are contesting in the first two phases. PTI AMR SNS SNS