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CPM vote bank plummets to near non-existence in Paschim Burdwan

Kolkata: At a time when CPI-M is holding its Party Conference in Hyderabad to determine the future course of action, the party's erosion of vote bank has hit rock bottom in Paschim Burdwan - once a stronghold of the party.
Burdwan, then an undivided district, was a stronghold of CPI-M for decades. The Burdwan lobby used to control the party in Kolkata. There were great leaders from Burdwan, which included Benoy Chowdhury, Hare Krishna Konar, Rabin Sen, Mansoor Habibullah and Meheboob Zahedi.
Now, the top leaders of the party from Burdwan are Madan Ghosh, Nirupam Sen, Mrinal Banerjee, Jiban Roy and Bansagopal Chowdhury among others. After bifurcation of the district, agrarian Burdwan falls under Purba Burdwan, while industrial Burdwan, which includes Asansol, Durgapur, Ranigunj and Andal, are parts of Paschim Burdwan.
In Gram Panchayat, there are 833 seats. For these, CPI-M has fielded 337 candidates, with Congress fielding 26 candidates. CPI, which is a Left Front constituent, has fielded 20 candidates. Trinamool Congress has nominated 971 candidates, while BJP has nominated 253 candidates.
In Panchayat Samity, there are 161 seats. CPI-M and Congress have nominated 77 and 8 candidates respectively. BJP has fielded 56 candidates, while Trinamool Congress has fielded 196 candidates.
In Zilla Parishad, there are 17 seats. CPI-M and Congress have fielded 15 and 6 candidates respectively. BJP and Trinamool Congress have nominated 19 and 17 candidates respectively.
Political experts feel that the indifference of party leaders has failed to stop erosion of the mass base in Burdwan district. Congress has virtually become non-existent, with the party fielding 26 candidates in the 833 member Gram Panchayat, 8 candidates in the 161 member Panchayat Samity and only 6 candidates in the 17 member Zilla Parishad.
CPI-M could not fill up even half of the Gram Panchayat and Panchayat Samity seats.
There is a mass exodus from CPI-M to BJP. In industrial Burdwan, BJP has consolidated its base over the years. Though Trinamool had lost both the Durgapur seats in the 2016 Assembly election, CPI-M had failed to use the situation in its favour and now, BJP has developed its contacts in the grassroot level.

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