January 3, 2009

LF to sound poll bugle with February 8 rally

Kolkata, 1st January : West Bengal's ruling Left Front will begin mobilising cadres for the general elections this year with a rally in Kolkata February 8, hoping it will not suffer the reverses of the panchayat polls last year.

The rally will be held at the sprawling Brigade Parade Ground, state Left Front chairman Biman Basu announced on Thursday. "We will hold a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground February 8 to make leftfront workers gear up for the coming Lok Sabha elections," Basu told reporters at the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI(M)) headquarters on Alimuddin Street in Kolkata.

“We will also start our campaign soon, taking into account that elections will be held on time.” The Lok Sabha elections are likely to be held in April-May when the five-year term of the current Lok Sabha ends. Basu said the Left Front's performance in the state panchayat elections in May last year suffered due to lack of unity among coalition partners. The Left Front is led by the CPI(M).

"But we have sorted out the differences to a great extent and will hold regular meetings to ensure that the Lok Sabha election results don't suffer like the panchayat elections," Basu said.
The Left Front suffered an erosion of its rural base in the panchayat elections, though it managed to retain its dominant position in 13 of the State's 17 rural districts.

Basu said party activists have unanimously decided to take all necessary steps to make the Left Front "more active" and ensure that district cadres "work together". He also spoke about the Nandigram area of East Midnapore district that has seen prolonged bloodletting between the communists and the opposition over land acquisition for industry. Basu said he was hopeful that election results would be in their favour in Nandigram.

"We are hopeful that if people at Nandigram are allowed to vote independently, without any pressure from the opposition, the results will be in favour of the Left Front. It's the opposition that tries to separate people from us by creating misunderstandings," Basu said.

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