Bardhan: Left has edge in Kerala, tough fight in Bengal

Kochi: It will be a tough fight between the Left Front and the Trinamool Congress in this month`s assembly polls in West Bengal while in Kerala the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) had an edge over the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said on Friday.

"In West Bengal the fight is tougher. In Kerala we have an edge" Bardhan told reporters at a meet-the-press programme organised by Ernakulam Press club in Kochi.

In Kerala, the fight was no doubt keen, but LDF had an edge and the Left front would win a majority, he said, adding "the so called Kerala pattern of alternating LDF and UDF governments would not happen this time following the Left Front`s good performance".

"What is noticeable this time is use of money power by the Congress. Already a Congressman has revealed that money has been paid for seats. It should not be taken lightly. It is not the observation of a man denied seat. What generally happens in Uttar Pradesh and other states where money is paid for selection of candidates has happened here. This was never so in Kerala which is a politically conscious state", he said.

"Congress` greed for money seems to be growing in proportion to the losses it has suffered in election. The role of money power is unfortunate and needs to be curbed", he said.

Praising the LDF government for ensuring food security to the vulnerable sections of the society and supplying rice at Rs 2 per kg to BPL and APL families, Bardhan said he was however "amazed" at the Supreme Court`s decision to stay the decision of the government to extend the scheme to APL families also.

Bardhan said the apex court had some time ago observed that foodgrains should be distributed free to the poor instead of allowing it to rot in godowns.

"The Supreme court which holds such views have not taken kindly to the decision of LDF to extend it. The decision was taken before the model code of conduct came into force. If the LDF gets another term, it would be implemented," he said.

Asked about the alleged incident of CPI minister C Divakaran slapping a voter in Kollam and a CPM MLA, P Jayarajan, manhandling a TV journalist in Kannur, Bardhan said the Kollam incident was a figment of imagination of a section of the media.

The candidate was not involved in the the incident. "It is a non-existent crime", he said when pointed that the police had registered a case.

Regarding Kannur incident, he said "too much is being read into the incident. This is a non-issue", he said.