The CPM and the Congress is all set to fight the West Bengal assembly election under the leadership of CPM’s Bengal secretary Surya Kanta Mishra. This would mean if the alliance wins, Mishara will be the chief minister of the newly formed government.
The CPM state secretariat on Sunday proposed the name of Mishra after consulting the Congress and other left constituents. On Monday the CPM state committee, the highest decision making body of the state CPM, ratified the decision of the state committee.
Mishra is all set to fight the election from his West Midnapore constituency Narayangarh, which he has been retaining since 1982. He was health and panchyat minister in Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government and replaced Bhattacharjee in the politburo when the ailing former chief minister was relieved from the highest executive body of the CPM in Delhi during the last party Congress.
A senior CPM leader told The Week, “Mishra is fit and is travelling extensively across the state. He has a clean image and was an able administrator. He was easily acceptable to everyone, including the Congress.”
A doctor by profession, Mishra was born in Cuttack in Odisha and did his MBBS from Cuttack medical college with postgraduate diploma in pulmonary medicine. He is also presently leader of the opposition in West Bengal assembly.
Despite holding the secretary post of the party’s Bengal unit, Mishra agreed to fight the polls after state committee pressed him to stand in the election. Earlier, he had decided not to contest the election but instead travel across the state.
This is for the first time a CPM secretary is fighting the election in Bengal. Also this is for the first time CPM is going to poll with a chief ministerial candidate which they never did in the past during the era of Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb despite the fact that it was well known that those two leaders would become chief ministern when the party would win.
A CPM central committee member said when asked, “Yes this is not our norms. But we are not fighting alone this time. So we have to change to suit to the changing environment.”
A Congress leader said, “We have not been officially informed about it yet. But if Mishra would be the candidate we would not have any problem.”