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PCPA's Mahato may give CPM an edge in Jhargram

News18test sharma |

Updated: May 3, 2011, 12:27 PM IST
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PCPA's Mahato may give CPM an edge in Jhargram
The Jhargram constituency has a total electorate of 1, 84,398 with 234 polling stations.

Kolkata: The Maoist upsurge in Jangalmahal resulted in the erosion of Left support base in Lalgarh under Jhargram constituency, but jailed PCPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato's nomination from the seat in the West Bengal Assembly election has suddenly queered the pitch, giving CPM an edge.

Jhargram is the only Assembly constituency where a Maoist-backed candidate - PCPA leader Mahato - will contest which may help CPM candidate Amar Basu to retain his seat in the May 10 election in the sixth and final phase.

"Chatradhar's entry is an advantage for us," CPM district committee member in-charge of Jhargram, Dahar Sen told PTI.

Though Maoists have called for a poll boycott, this time unlike the last Lok Sabha elections, voter participation will be greater in the seven Assembly seats - Jhargram, Binpur, Salboni, Gobindballavpur, Nayagram, Midnapore and Garbeta.

After the delimitation exercise in which Jamboni was subtracted from and Binpur Block 1 added to the constituency, the CPM would have been in a tighter spot had it not been for the Chhatradhar factor.

Binpur Block I, including Lalgarh Gram Panchayat, and nine other GPs where Maoist activity has been rampant, was annexed to Jhargram constituency and it meant that the 85883-strong electorate, which is nearly 43 per cent of the total number of voters in the constituency, would have been a solid anti-left block.

The Left Front holds four of the 10 Gram Panchayats in Binpur Block I - Dharampur, Dahijhuri, Belatikri and Baita. But six others - Lalgarh, Andharia, Binpur, Nepura, Ramgarh and Sijua - are held by Jharkhand parties.

On the other hand, Jamboni block, which is considered to be a CPM bastion, was detached from Jhargram and added to Binpur (ST) Assembly constituency.

Jamboni block's annexure with Binpur AC from Jhargram, where Left Front holds ten of the 13 Gram Panchayats, was a major blow to the ruling party because even in the hard days of struggle with the Maoists, nearly 68804 electors had rested faith on the Front.

Apart from that, most of the Gram Panchayats like Bandhgora, Manikpara and Radhnagar are Maoist-dominated and will vote against CPM.

"People are scared to speak to us and there is hardly any campaign. We have to rely on individual contacts," Sen said.

"We are mostly relying on the division of votes between the Trinamool Congress and Chhatradhar Mahato and we are trying to consolidate our traditional vote bank in the Jhargram Municipal area and it surroundings," a CPM insider said.

"In fact, in many areas we cannot get to campaign and so we have gathered outside the Maoist-dominated areas to tell the people," CPM candidate Amar Basu told PTI.

However, Maoist spokesperson Monoj Mahato, who got bail a few days back, fumed at the Trinamool Congress, saying, "If TMC had stayed away, that would have given us an advantage and paved the way for Chhatradhar's victory."

TMC candidate and former medical officer of the West Bengal government, Sukumar Hansda, who has left his job to contest the elections, said, "People all over West Bengal are looking for a change and here also people will vote for the change. But the division of votes will definitely be a deciding factor in the elections."

Asked if Mahato's contesting the elections will create a problem, Hansda said, "Chhatradhar will cash in on Lalgarh and its adjacent areas which was once the main vote bank of the CPM. So if there is division of votes, the Left votes will be split and will go to our advantage."

The Jhargram constituency has a total electorate of 1, 84,398 with 234 polling stations.

First Published: May 3, 2011, 12:27 PM IST
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