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Constituency watch | Left could emerge dark horse in Balurghat polls

Trinamool and BJP are calculating the vote of the Left Front in Balurghat, and according to political experts’ assessments the Left vote bank “swing” may change the political equations in the district

Srikanta Thakur | Balurghat |

The Left Front is likely to emerge as the dark horse in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the Balurghat parliamentary constituency. Leaders of the two main political parties, the Trinamool Congress and the BJP, are calculating the vote of the Left Front in the Balurghat polls, and according to political experts’ assessments, the Left vote bank “swing” may change the political equation in the district.

As such, the think tanks of every political party have started re-calculating the vote percentage of the other parties.

In the last Assembly elections, the Left had won three of the six seats in South Dinajpur, and the Congress had won the Gangarampur seat with support from the CPI-M. The Congress candidate has, however, joined the Trinamool Congress now.

In blocks like Harirampur, Kushmandi Balurghat and Hili, the Left Front has reorganized its party organization. According to a report of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) submitted to the District Magistrate, they have marked 604 of the 1305 booths in South Dinajpur as highly sensitive. The Left has the second largest booth level organization after the Trinamool Congress here, while on the other hand, the BJP has not been able to form booth committees in over 300 booths, it is said.

On the other hand, Left candidate for the polls, Ranen Barman, belongs to the Rajbanshi community and a large number of people belonging to the community may support him in South Dinajpur.

Blocks like Tapan, Kushmandi and Gangarampur also have a good number of Rajbanshis. In the last panchayat elections, the Left Front failed to put up a good show, while the BJP emerged as the second biggest power, but the organizational strength of the Left is better than other parties, observers have said.

“Moreover, the clash between the RSP and the CPIM in South Dinajpur had always been a big issue before every election until 2014, but now, both the prominent Left parties are united and are working together. So from the municipality to the rural body, Left Front has gained in organizational strength,” an observer said.

As per record s, the RSP remained unbeaten till 2009 and in the last parliament elections in 2014, the Trinamool Congress won the seat with a big margin, while the RSP remained the second largest party, and the BJP managed the third position.

“The Left Front has its organization and a large number of Left supporters have remained inactive. If the Left supporters start to work for the party and manage their vote bank, then the Trinamul may benefit. On the other hand, if Left supporters change their stance like in the panchayat elections, the BJP will be benefit,” a political analyst in the district said.

Sudip Mahanata, an expert on politics in the district, said the Left may emerge as the dark horse in the Balurghat polls.

“The number of voters remains almost the same, and there is no change in the political scenario in South Dinajpur after the Assembly elections. The Trinamul Congress has rather become more complex with its internal conflict. So the vote percentage of the Left Front may be a factor in the upcoming general elections,” he said.