KOLKATA: Arch-rivals BJP and the CPI(M) have joined hands at the grassroot level in Nadia district to defeat the Trinamool Congress in the upcoming panchayat polls in West Bengal.
Describing it as a "formal seat sharing adjustment", a district level CPI(M) leader said that the party had to opt for seat adjustment in many seats as several villagers wanted a one-to-one fight against the TMC.
The CPI(M), with an opposing ideology to that of the BJP, never loses an opportunity to describe the saffron party as a "divisive force".
The BJP's north Nadia district unit president termed the development as an "isolated incident".
The bonhomie first came to light in the last week of April when both the parties organised a joint protest rally in Karimpur-Ranaghat area of Nadia district against the alleged violence of the TMC during the panchayat poll process.
The cadre of both parties carried their respective flags during the protest programme.
CPI(M) Nadia district secretary and state committee member Sumit De agreed that there have been adjustments at the grassroot level in many seats as several villagers were in favour of a one-to-one fight.
It has nothing to do with the party's policy, he added.
"Yes, there have been adjustments at the grassroot level. In many seats as the villagers had wanted a one-to-one fight, we had to respect it and act accordingly. But it is not that there have been several rounds of discussions between parties and it is a formal seat sharing adjustment," De told PTI.
Senior CPI(M) leader and state committee member Rama Biswas, who was present at the joint rally of the BJP and CPI(M), admitted that a rally had been taken out by villagers against the violence of the TMC.
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh too admitted that supporters of the BJP and the CPI(M) were present at the rally.
"I have received information that we had called a rally against the violence of the TMC. CPI(M) workers also came and joined our protest rally as they too were attacked," Ghosh told PTI.
A senior state BJP leader who did not wish to be named said in areas where the BJP could not field a candidate "it has given enough hints to the voters and party cadres to counter the TMC which has unleashed violence".
Agreeing that such "isolated incidents" had taken place, the BJP north Nadia district president Mahadeb Sarkar told PTI, "In some seats where we could not field candidates, our workers at the grassroot level have extended support to independent candidates".
"In most cases, these independent candidates are actually CPI(M) workers", he said.
In several gram panchayat seats of Nadia-Karimpur area, BJP candidates were asked to withdraw their nominations so that the CPI(M) could fight against the TMC and vice-versa, a district BJP leader said.
In those seats, the party (either CPI(M) or BJP) which has not fielded any candidate is campaigning for the other one to defeat the TMC, the BJP leader of Nadia's Karimpur area, who did not wish to be named, said.
CPI(M) central committee leader Sujan Chakraborty said few "isolated incidents" should not to used to judge the CPI(M)'s political line against BJP.
"We are the only party in India which has the clearest approach against BJP and its communal policies. We are not like the TMC which is not serious about fighting BJP. Our policies should not be judged based on isolated incidents. In panchayat poll such isolated incidents do happen. You will find it in other parties also", Chakraborty said.
The TMC claimed that the political development in Nadia only proves that the BJP and the CPI(M) are having a "tacit understanding in Bengal".
"We are not surprised at this development as we were aware of such developments in various districts. Only the TMC is serious about fighting the BJP and its anti-people policies," TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said.
According to West Bengal SEC (State Election Commission) sources, of the 48,650 seats in 3,358 gram panchayats, 16,814 were uncontested and of the 9,217 seats in 341 panchayat samitis, 3,059 were uncontested.
In the 20 Zilla Parishads, 203 of the 825 seats were uncontested, they said.