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No CPM Poll Pact With Congress in West Bengal

Top panel okays Kerala line on staying away from Grand Old Party.

Published: 19th February 2016 04:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2016 04:12 AM   |  A+A-

sitaram_PTI

NEW DELHI:  After weeks of speculation on the alliance question, the Kerala unit of the CPI-M on Thursday prevailed and the party’s West Bengal unit was given a fig leaf to cover themselves against the aggression of Mamata Banerjee’s ruling Trinamool Congress in the coming State Assembly elections.

Kerala and West Bengal are scheduled have Assembly polls simultaneously. For the CPI-M, it is a Catch-22 situation. In Kerala, the LDF coalition it leads is poised to wrest or go within striking distance of power from the Congress-led UDF. In West Bengal where it lost power to Banerjee’s TMC after a 34-long years in the saddle, it is facing near extinction and hence its State unit wanted the Congress hand to bounce back to power.

But the CPM Central Central overruled the proposal of an overt alliance with the Congress in West Bengal after most of the members opposed it.

However, the CC gave the Bengal unit a little leeway in that it allowed it go for electoral adjustments with secular parties. Plans for regional adjustments will be chalked out at the State level. Overall, the tactical political line adopted at the party congress was maintained.

On repeated questioning whether this means that Bengal unit of the party can have an overt or covert understanding on the ground with the Congress, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury smiled and said: ‘’We are asking all secular like minded parties to support us in West Bengal’’ against misrule of TMC. However, he simply refused to mention the Congress.

It seems, at the meeting, Gautam Deb of the Bengal unit - the original proponent of the alliance idea - pointed out that the party would not be able to return to power in the State without the alliance, but Kerala’s A Vijayaraghavan argued him out stating that the party would have to suffer a huge setback in Kerala if it goes with the Congress in Bengal.

The CPM politburo had left it to the CC to take a final call on the proposal after it failed to arrive at a consensus on the issue. Most of Politburo members too were against the move. The surge of the BJP in both the states played an important role in arriving at the decision.

Earlier on Wednesday, all the CC members, except Kerala Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan and MLA Thomas Isaac opposed the proposal for the alliance. The members from Assam and Madhya Pradesh too were against it.

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