Bengal CPI softens stand over Left-Cong alliance

Much to the relief of the CPM leadership in West Bengal, the CPI, one of the major constituents of the Left Front, has softened its stand regarding the possibility of a Left-Congress alliance in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The development comes at a time when the CPM is getting cornered in the Left Front over alliance with the Congress as two other constituents — Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and the Forward Bloc — has sternly criticised the “CPM’s eagerness” to form a Left-Congress alliance.

“At our recently concluded national council meeting in Visakhapatnam, we came to the conclusion that to stop the division of anti-Trinamool Congress and anti-BJP votes in Bengal the Left Front will have to decide whether to align with other secular democratic forces. We have no objection if there is a collective decision to join forces with the Congress in the Left Front,” CPI state secretary Swapan Bandyopadhyay told DH.

However, the CPI leadership made it clear that unlike the 2016 Assembly election, the CPM cannot take the decision “unilaterally” to get into a Left-Congress seat-sharing understanding. 

“In 2016, the CPM decided to cobble up a Left-Congress alliance without informing other Left Front allies in advance, and after taking the decision, the CPM convinced and often pressurised its allies to accept it. This will not happen again,” said Bandyopadhyay. 

Top priority

Even as he emphasised that keeping the BJP at bay was the top priority of his party, Bandyopadhyay ruled out any possibility of joining hands with the TMC to counter the saffron party in Bengal.

“The one-against-one strategy cannot be applied in Bengal due to the current political scenario. Considering TMC’s undemocratic actions and use of terror tactics there is no question of joining forces with them to keep the BJP at bay,” said Bandyopadhyay.

The state CPI leadership is not too keen on the Left Front approaching the Congress first for an alliance but wants elaborate discussion over the issue in the Left Front. 

CPI sources pointed out that since the Congress is yet to make its stand clear in this regard it would not be prudent for the Left to approach them in advance. 

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