Election 2024: CPM bets on young and fresh faces in West Bengal

The party has so far announced names for 17 seats and at least 12 of them are young and fresh faces.
Representational image of CPM Flags
Representational image of CPM Flags (Photo | EPS)

NEW DELHI: The highlight of the first set of Lok Sabha candidates for West Bengal announced by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) is that the party has reposed confidence in its youth leadership to take political heavyweights in the state. The party has so far announced names for 17 seats and at least 12 of them are young and fresh faces.

Youngest of the lot is Dipsita Dhar (30); joint secretary of Student Federation of India (SFI). She has been fielded from Sreerampur against the three-time MP of Trinamool Congress Kalyan Banerjee. The student leader is the granddaughter of noted CPM leader Padma Nidhi Dhar. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nominated Kabir Shankar Bose, a Supreme Court lawyer, from the seat.

Dipsita has been at the forefront of various student-led protests and has been vocal on issues related to gender, sexual harassment and Indian higher education. She was also actively involved in the Justice for Rohit Vemula movement and the anti-CAA protests.

Srijan Bhattacharya (31)--former secretary of Students’ Federation of India (SFI) of the state—has been pitted against actor Saayoni Ghosh of TMC in the prestigious Jadavpur parliamentary constituency. Bhattacharya’s parents were also leftist student activists and his grandfather Achintya Bhattacharyya was a communist leader of Assam. A scholar-turned-politician Anirban Ganguly is the BJP’s candidate from the seat.

Saira Shah Halim (46), CPM’s nominee from Kolkata Dakshi also comes from an illustrious family of Left party leaders of West Bengal. His husband Dr Fuad Halim is the son of the veteran Leftist leader Hasim Abdul Halim, who served as the speaker of the Bengal assembly for almost three decades. Saira is the daughter of retired Lieutenant General Zameer Uddin Shah and niece of actor Naseeruddin Shah.

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She actively participated in the campaign against the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Act in Bengal and Delhi. She has been speaking on the rights of religious minorities and LGBTQ+ community. 

On her candidature from the seat, Saira said, “People here are looking for an alternative which is not corrupt and communalist. So I hope the public will like my candidature and give me their blessings.”

The party has nominated two young lawyers; Sayan Banerjee (31) from Tamluk and Sabyasachi Chatterjee (39) from Howrah constituency. Banerjee, a fresher in politics but quite popular in the civil society because of his arguments at the Calcutta High Court in the school-job case is challenging former judge of Calcutta High Court Abhijit Gangopadhyay. The TMC has named its youth leader Debangshu Bhattacharya from the constituency.

“Basically the thought behind the entire plan of nominating the young candidates is to attract the youth; younger generation because the majority of the electorate belong to the 18-40 years age group. The party has nominated young candidates; it is a hope for the new generation and we believe that if young educated youth don’t come forward then the entire political vacuum will be taken over by hooligans and corrupt,” he said.

Chatterjee, also a practicing lawyer in the Calcutta High Court, has been given ticket to face incumbent MP of TMC Prasun Banerjee, a former professional footballer, and Arjuna Awardee and BJP’s Rathin Chakraborty .

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Chatterjee said that his priority would be redevelopment and revival of industry in Howrah and rein in illegal construction.

“Howrah is a mix of rural and urban areas. Congestion and unauthorized construction are two big issues in the constituency. If I am elected, my priority will be to make proper planning for restoration and rival industry; to find out possibilities and work on them…basically planning for the unplanned city,” he said.  

The other new faces of CPM in these elections are Debraj Burman (Jalpaiguri), Nilanjan Dasgupta (Bankura), Shital Kaibarta (Bishnupur), Monodip Ghosh (Hooghly) and Nirab Khan (Burdwan Purba).

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