Naren Chatterjee has become the new state secretary of Forward Bloc. He was unanimously elected by the party's state council on Sunday.
The post was lying vacant after the death of Ashok Ghosh, who was the state secretary of the Forward Bloc since 1952. Ghosh had died of old-age related ailments last year.
"Both the Left Front and Forward Bloc are facing challenges. My sole aim would be to strengthen the party and the Left unity in the state. We will follow the footsteps of Ashokda and work hard to strengthen our party," Chatterjee said.
In the 2016 Assembly election, Left Front suffered a major setback having only 26 seats. Of the seats, CPI(M) has 26 seats, RSP, Forward Bloc and CPI have 3,2 and 1 seats respectively. There has been a massive erosion of support base of all the Left Front parties and despite best efforts by the leaders the constituents of Left Front have failed to rope in fresh blood.
With this backdrop, Left Front is going to face the Panchayat election in 2018 followed by Lok Sabha polls in 2019. As Chatterjee is a dynamic leader, party veterans feel that he will able to guide the party in times of crisis.
A big question before Forward Bloc now is whether to back the Left Front to have an alliance with Congress in the forthcoming elections. Before 2016 elections, CPI(M) had made an unofficial alliance with Congress in the hope to defeat Trinamool Congress. The result was disastrous. After the results were out, the Politburo of CPI(M) issued a statement stating that it did not support the alliance.
Forward Bloc did not support the alliance initially but to keep the Left Front intact, later accepted it.