KOLKATA: Amid allegations that the Left parties have joined hands with a communal force by forming an alliance with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) for winning the assembly elections in West Bengal, the CPI(M) has contended that the fledgeling party is different from fundamentalist communal forces.
The ISF was floated by Abbas Siddiqui, an influential Muslim cleric of Hooghly district's Furfura Sharif, last month.
The Left Front has agreed to leave for the ISF 30 seats as part of the Left-Congress-ISF grand alliance.
Seat sharing talks are on between the ISF and the Congress.
CPI(M) West Bengal general secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said that the alliance has been formed not with an eye on the elections only, but also for a long-term fight for lives and livelihoods of people and secularism, and against attacks on democracy.
Both the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP have claimed that the Left Front has joined hands with "a communal force" like the ISF.
In an interview published in Thursdays edition of 'Ganashakti', the Bengali mouthpiece of the CPI(M), Mishra said, "The ISF is not a communal force. It is different from fundamentalist communal forces."
Claiming that the huge turnout at the Brigade Parade Ground rally has muddled the calculations of the TMC and the BJP, he asserted that the ISF speaks of people belonging to Scheduled Castes, other backward classes, minority communities and also upper caste Hindus and Adivasis.
The Left-Congress-ISF alliance kicked off its campaign for the upcoming assembly elections in West Bengal with a mega rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on February 28.
Denying that the Leftists have given up their ideology for the sake of elections, Mishra said, "The Left parties have performed a historic responsibility in the state's present circumstances by forming the grand alliance."
He said that there was a need to forge people together in the face of alleged communal polarisation in West Bengal.
It is a wrong notion that taking the ISF on board the alliance will help the BJP bring the Hindus into its fold, Mishra said claiming that the Hindus are equally under attack like the Muslims and their lives and livelihoods are also at stake.
He claimed that the Leftists have always fought against both majority and minority communalism.
Claiming that communalism of the majority is a more potent danger between the two, the CPI(M) leader said, "This is displayed by Hindutva forces in India and Islamic communal forces in Bangladesh."
A concerted farmers' agitation has succeeded in giving the BJP a jolt, and bringing together deprived sections of people can help stop the saffron party in West Bengal, he said.
Assembly elections in the state will be held in eight phases between March 27 and April 29.
Votes will be counted on May 2.