Triangular fight between Left, Congress, BJP in Barak Valley

Silchar, March 14 (IANS) While the Left parties are finalising ‘seat adjustment’ with the Congress in West Bengal for the forthcoming assembly polls, they will be decrying their ‘friendly’ party’s “misgovernance” in the neighbouring Barak Valley region.

The Bengali-dominated region in southern Assam will see a triangular contest between the Left parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the assembly polls which are to be held in two phases: on April 4 and 11.

The Barak Valley region has three districts — Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi — and 15 seats in the 126-member Assam assembly. Silchar, itself an assembly constituency, is the nerve centre of the region.

The 15 constituencies will vote in the first phase on April 4.

Six Left parties would field candidates in 58 assembly constituencies in Assam, including some seats in Barak Valley region, said Bijan Dhar, a member of the central committee of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

The other five parties are Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), Revolutionary Communist Party of India, Forward Bloc, and Revolutionary Socialist Party.

“The Left parties would contest against both ruling Congress and the BJP. They would highlight 15 years of misgovernance in Assam by the Congress,” he said.

The CPI-M would contest elections in 19 constituencies in Assam, including the crucial Silchar seat where it has fielded its trade union leader Supriya Bhattacharjee, he said.

Silchar, along with Karimganj North and Karimganj South, has a close political association with the adjoining Left-ruled Tripura.

The BJP has renominated for the Silchar constituency sitting legislator Dilip Kumar Paul who bagged the seat in 2014 by elections.

The Congress has yet to select its nominee from five contenders: party general secretary Rajesh Deb, former district president Arun Dutta Majumdar, former union minister Santosh Monhan Dev’s wife Bithika Dev, his daughter Bharati Dev, and former chairman of Silchar municipal board Tamal Banik, sources said.

“Central leadership seriously wants to win Silchar seat. The party will field a strong candidate here,” Lok Sabha member from Silchar Sushmita Dev said.

Sushmita is another daughter of Santosh Monhan Dev and held the assembly seat before being elected for the Lok Sabha.

The CPI-M had last won the seat in 1978. Since that time Congress and BJP won the seat four times each.

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