NEW DELHI: In a move to counter the Trinamool Congress and the BJP in West Bengal, the CPI(M) on Monday said there would be “no mutual contest” on the six Lok Sabha seats held by the both Congress and the Left Front. A decision over the rest of the seats in the state would be taken later while the CPI(M) would support the Congress in states where the grand old party is locked in a direct contest with the BJP.
“A triangular fight in Bengal will be better than a quadrangular fight. The decision (no mutual contest) was backed by an overwhelming majority (in the party). Situation has changed and so the tactics,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said after party’s central committee met in the national capital to discuss alliances in various states for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The Left party was earlier divided over supporting the Congress. The rift came to the fore after the 2016 Kerala and West Bengal Assembly elections when the Prakash Karat faction took on the Yechury camp over heavy defeat in the Bengal polls as they state unit was in an electoral pact with the Congress.
In Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Bihar, talks are on with regional parties - the DMK, the NCP and the RJD, respectively - for alliances. In Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, the party wants to consolidate its position in a few seats by projecting Left Front unity.
The central committee agreed that state level electoral tactics is key in order to ensure maximum pooling of anti-BJP votes.
“In states where the direct contest is between the Congress and the BJP, the party will contest one or two seats and campaign against the BJP,” the CPI(M) said in a statement.
The Left Front will meet on March 8 to finalise the understanding for other 36 seats in West Bengal. The CPI(M) generally contests on 32 seats, leaving 10 for other Left parties. However, there are reports that party may decide to contest fewer seats this time while looking to accommodate the Congress.
In the Telugu-speaking states, the party is exploring the possibility of CPI (M)-CPI unity and a possible alliance with Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena party. In Telangana, the CPI(M) hopes to tie up with the CPI that fought against the party in the recent Assembly elections.
CPI (M) sitting MPs
West Bengal 2
West Bengal Congress+Left Unity
Telangana Left unity
Andhra Prdaesh Left unity+Jana Sena
Odisha Left Unity