KOLKATA: CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra said the BJP is the biggest "enemy and threat to the nation.
However, Mishra, whose party ruled West Bengal for 34 -long years, also claimed BJPs rise has been helped by the ruling Trinamool Congress, with which the saffron party is locked in a bitter electoral contest in West Bengal.
Declining to give a direct reply on whether the CPI(M) is open to aligning with the TMC in case of a hung assembly, Mishra said: "only a concrete situation can have a concrete answer".
Refuting criticism that the CPI (M)s secular credentials were dented by aligning with Peerzada Abbas Siddiqui's Indian Secular Front (ISF), he said "those who themselves practise communal politics are apprehensive of the Left-ISF-Congress alliance".
Accusing the BJP and the TMC of trying to communalise the elections, Mishra speculated the TMC and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) may join hands if both the parties fell short of a majority in the assembly.
"BJP is our biggest enemy. BJP is not only the biggest enemy but also a threat to the idea of India as also to Bengal. It has to be stopped, and only Left and secular forces can do that. No other bourgeois political party can be compared with the BJP, not even the TMC, said Mishra in an interview to PTI.
"He added But BJP and communal politics have found a foothold in West Bengal because of the TMC government and its policies."
When asked whether CPI(M) would support the TMC in case of a fractured mandate since it has identified the BJP as its biggest enemy, the veteran politician declined to give a direct reply.
"Many people want us to say something. But we don't comment on hypothetical questions. Only in case of a concrete situation we can take a concrete decision," he said.
On a question on whether refusal by the Congress and Left to support TMC could help BJP, Mishra said: "We are rather apprehensive (that) in such a scenario (fractured mandate), you will see the TMC and the BJP joining hands to form the government."
"Both are old alliance partners. That is why we have asked people to ensure that seat tally of both the parties are low enough to ensure the two parties could not join hands to gain a majority, he said. In the 294-member state assembly, 148 is the magic figure to be able to form a government.
"BJP-RSS didn't gain ground during the Left or the Congress rule. It is during her (Mamata Banerjees) tenure that RSS gained ground. On various occasions, we have seen how TMC has helped BJP by staging a walkout in parliament," he said.
When asked whether a grand opposition alliance can be formed in Bengal without the ruling TMC in it, Mishra referred to the political somersault by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 2017 and said, "just like Nitish Kumar, she too lacks credibility in the fight against BJP".
"We all know what happened in Bihar after RJD and Congress joined hands with the JD (U) and defeated the BJP in 2015.
Within two years, Nitish Kumar was back with the BJP. They lack credibility. It is the same for the TMC," he said.
Refuting criticism that the CPI (M)-led Left Front compromised its ideology by joining hands with the ISF, Mishra said "The ISF is not a communal force. It is a secular party. He added Go through its candidate list, and you will see it has SCs, STs and Brahmins along with minorities as its nominees."
The CPI (M) leader, who is also on the partys politburo, said, 'The Left parties have performed a historic responsibility in the present circumstances by forming the grand alliance with Congress and ISF.
It is an irony that those who themselves are communal and pointing fingers at others and are questioning us'.
Expressing happiness over the "massive response" that the Sanjukta Morcha has received during the campaign, the 71- year-old leader said that despite efforts by TMC and BJP, a triangular contest is being witnessed in the elections and not a bipolar one.
"This time, the alliance is well-grounded and nicely stitched, unlike 2016 when the Left-Congress alliance was half-hearted.
I had said then that if we are unable to bring together secular and democratic forces, BJP will gain ground.
That has happened in Bengal," he said.
Speaking of BJP's electoral rise at the expense of Left's dwindling vote share, Mihra said it has happened due to sharp communal polarisation.
"It is a worldwide phenomenon wherever the communal and fascist forces gain ground the Left and the progressive forces lose support.
Thats why it is necessary to bring all secular and democratic forces together," he said.
Replying to a slogan allegedly being given by some: "21 e Ram, 26 e Baam (BJP in 2021 and Left in 2026)", Mishra said the party doesn't support such a stand as it would be "akin to jumping from a frying pan to a fire."
Mishra also questioned the Election Commission's impartiality and said "the role of EC is not beyond question.
The EC is slowly losing credibility as they are not providing a level playing field for all parties," he said.