KOLLAM: The issues at home have been written largely on the faces of CPI leaders from West Bengal which is bracing for panchayat election to be held in the first week of May. The delegates led by the state secretary of CPI in West Bengal Swapan Banerjee huddled under a mango tree near Yunus Convention Centre (A B Bardhan Nagar) as they waited for lunch.
The number of delegates attending the party congress has been reduced to 38 from 53, as the party deployed the leaders to help file nominations. There is so much of violence and hooliganism unleashed by cadre of Trinamool Congress. People are not allowed to file nomination papers, said Banerjee as he finished smoking a cigarette. The party has reasons to be worried as the base has been eroding ever since Mamata Banerjee came to power.
The erosion is severe in rural West Bengal where the party was once very strong. We do not have much issue in the urban areas, especially Kolkata. But we are worried about our rural base, he said. The CPI is contesting 3,000 of the 48,000 panchayat seats. The Left Front consisting of 12 parties are contesting in all seats. According to Banerjee, the growth of the BJP with the tacit support of TMC has increased the communal polarisation in West Bengal. In the current political scenario, a political merger similar to the union of two main communist parties in Nepal was a desired one, he said. There is very little difference between the CPM and the CPI.
But the merger is not easy. We need to work towards it, said Banerjee. CPI's roleThe West Bengal unit wanted an active role for the party in national politics. They said the discussions in party congress would be find a road map for it. We need to raise the class struggle, go to the street and mobilise people, said Banerjee. He acknowledged the party had not taken up the mantle yet. He put the blame partly on the media for not being supportive enough of its initiatives.