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Mar 13, 2011 at 09:39pm IST

WB: 149 new names in Left's list of candidates

Kolkata: The Left Front on Sunday released its list of candidates for the Assembly elections. Taking chances, the Left has fielded an unprecedented number of new candidates.

In a revolution of sorts, at least in ticket distribution, the Left Front in West Bengal denied nominations to nine ministers and fielded 149 new candidates to fight a belligerent Mamata Banerjee and 35 years of anti-incumbency. Even the powerful speaker of the assembly for the last 29 years, Hashim Abdul Halim could not survive this revision in Marxist politics.

West Bengal CPI(M) secretary Biman Bose said, "Renewal is our formula. New younger candidates should be there and many candidates listed are below the age of 30 years."

In his one last bid to save the Left bastion, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has left no stone unturned. For the 294 seats in the state assembly, more than 50 per cent new faces have been fielded, about four dozen of which are women, a constituency Mamata Banerjee has been eyeing. At the same time, the Left has now tried to infuse fresh blood by fielding many candidates below the age of 30.

Meanwhile, in Delhi the Trinamool and the Congress continue to grapple to work out the seat sharing arrangement with Mamata's emirates meeting Congress leaders including Pranab Muklerjee. TMC sources said that they may agree to concede a few more seats to its junior partner in West Bengal. The final settlement will be thrashed out when Mukherjee meets TMC President later this week in Kolkata.

Since 2001, the story has changed in West Bengal. Then considered dead and buried, Mamata Banerjee is now preparing to bid adieu to the world's longest ruling elected Communist government. The big question is whether the Left Front's ploy to change old faces with new ones will work its magic once again with Bengal's voters or will they ditch Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his party this time around.