GUWAHATI, Dec 1 - With the State Election Commission (SEC) expected to soon announce dates for the forthcoming panchayat polls, possibility is emerging that the 11-member Left Democratic Manch (LDM) may not be able to put in place a formal alliance for the elections and there is more likelihood that constituent units of the LDM may seek bilateral seat-sharing arrangements with one another.
Senior LDM leaders told The Assam Tribune that so far there has been no major discussion for formation of a formal alliance for the panchayat polls. Some leaders said on condition of anonymity that most of the LDM constituents, barring the CPI (M), the CPI and the CPI (ML) Liberation, do not have a mass base and so even any formal alliance among all units of the Manch will be a worthless exercise.
On being contacted, Deben Bhattacharya, secretary of the Assam State Committee of CPI (M), said, �So far we have not held talks with regard to formation of an alliance. However, we will definitely try to have some sort of minimum understanding to ensure that there is no division of votes.�
He, however, said that even in absence of a formal alliance, efforts would be made to see that all LDM constituents jointly make a common appeal to the electorate for the panchayat polls. �At the same time we are open to having bilateral understanding with LDM units so that constituent groups of the Manch do not field candidates against one another,� Bhattacharya said.
He said the CPI (M) has identified seats in all districts where it plans to put up candidates.
�Our focus will be more on gaon panchayats rather than zilla parishad seats. And among our major poll planks will be local issues affecting the rural population of Assam like growing distress in the farm sector, price rise, rise in unemployment, withdrawal of welfare schemes,� he said.
The CPI (M) also plans to raise the issue of eviction during the poll campaign and the party has demanded that all eviction be stopped till publication of the final NRC.
Munin Mahanta, assistant secretary of CPI�s Assam State Council, said that while there is general understanding among the LDM constituents, so far no steps have been taken for formation of a proper electoral alliance.
�For an electoral alliance we need a common programme. Or else it will be futile to form a political front for the purpose of unitedly fighting the panchayat polls,� he said.
Mahanta said that some constituents of LDM may have different approaches with regard to maintaining equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP.
�We in the CPI are thinking of having some sort of bilateral arrangements with other LDM constituents in case no formal alliance materialises. In this regard, we plan to approach the CPI (M) soon. We want to find some common issues and only then will talk of seat sharing begin,� Mahanta said. He said constituent units of LDM, including the CPI itself, have already started preparing for the panchayat elections.