Kolkata: In a bid to regain its lost political ground in West Bengal ahead of next year’s crucial panchayat polls, the CPI(M)-led Left Front is set to launch a 15-day, mass-contact programme across the state from today.

The Left parties along with its outfits under the banner of Bengal Platform for Mass Organisations (BPMO) will hit the streets, agitating against the policies of the state and the central government. The programme which will start from today and will continue till November 3.

CPI(M) leader and convenor of BPMO, Shyamal Chakraborty said the target is to reach out to 77,000 booths spread across West Bengal. “If the state government prevents us from carrying our movement, then our workers will resist such attempts. Rallies,public meetings will be held in every nook and corner of the state,” Chakraborty said.

Although the Left parties have launched such mass-contact programmes in the last few years, it has failed to yield favourable results as the Left’s vote share, which has been on the decline for the last decade, did not show any signs of improvement.

“This BPMO programme should not be mingled with other political programmes we had launched earlier. With BJP’s increasing footprint in Bengal, we feel this is our opportunity to launch an agitation against both BJP and TMC,”a senior CPI(M) state secretariat member told.

The CPI(M) state secretariat member exuded confidence that if the Left manages to put up a good fight in the rural polls, it has a chance of doing well in the next Lok Sabha elections, too. According to Naren Chatterjee, state secretary ofForward Bloc, which is a partner of the Left Front, the public response to the BPMO rallies will help the Front gauge its existing mass base in rural Bengal.

“In Bengal, panchayat polls are of utmost importance.In 2008, our decline started through rural polls when we lost East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas to TMC. The results of the polls, directly and indirectly will affect the fortunes in Lok Sabha elections,” another CPI(M) state committee leader pointed out.

Meanwhile, the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state said the planned rallies of the Left Front will be a “flop show”. “The people of the state has already rejected CPI(M)and the Left. The people of the state have faith only in Mamata Banerjee. Their rally will turn into a flop show,” TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh termed the Left and CPI(M) in Bengal as a “spent force”, and said only the saffron party could fight against the “misrule” of TMC in the state.