The BUPC, which was formed in January 2007 with the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the SUCI, the Naxals and Siddiqullah Chowdhury’s PDCI under one umbrella, had almost wiped out the opponents, till the CPM wrested its control forcibly late last year. With the BUPC breaking up, it’s advantage CPM as far as the panchayat polls are concerned.
The conglomerate of the anti-Left forces failed to arrive at a consensus on the panchayat polls, said Subhendu Adhikary, a Trinamool Congress leader who had emerged as a powerful leader in Nandigram in the last one year. The partners within the alliance failed to reach an understanding and ensure a direct contest against the ruling CPM. Of the 146 seats in the three-tier panchayat at Nandigram, 132 Trinamool candidates have filed nominations. Congress candidates have filed nominations in 38 seats. The SUCI decided to contest from one seat as a symbolic presence in the political fray. The BJP is also contesting in 34 out of 146 seats. After the election date was announced, the BUPC constituents tried to work out an understanding for a one-to-one contest against the Left candidates. It was discussed that all anti-Left candidates would fight without their party symbol to show solidarity and the existence of the BUPC. “But the Trinamool Congress refused to accept this formula,” claimed Milan Pradhdna, a local Congress leader.
Sisir Adhikary, a Trinamool leader, said it was the TMC that had organised the movement and the BUPC had been formed while other parties had decided to join them. “But it was not possible for us to fight without the party’s symbol.”Pradhan agreed that the TMC was the main force during the yearlong movement and other political parties accepted its leadership. But it would have been better if the one-to-one contest formula had worked out.
SUCI and Siddiqullah Chowdhury-led PDCI leaders had also felt that it would be better to contest jointly as an anti-Left force.
The triangular and multi-cornered contests are going to help Left candidates and the TMC. Both Adhikary and Pradhan admitted that they would have to suffer losses. Majority voters are opposed to the CPM, but the opposition votes are going to be split because of the multi-cornered contest, said Pradhan. After the initial setbacks, the CPM looks well placed to regain its control over Nandigram, this time through the ballots and not bullets as the opposition gets disoriented.
Ashok Guria, a CPM leader of Nandigram, however, said despite the presence of more than two candidates in most seats, the contest would essentially be one against one. The opposition camp would campaign in favour of the strong candidates, working out an understanding in various seats to defeat the Left, he added.`