CPI(M) to have understanding with Cong in WB, Assam, TN

CPI(M) to have electoral understanding with Congress in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu

CPI(M) Central Committee's decision caps inner-party fight over party's relationship with Congress

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury (PTI)

Drawing curtains on years old inner-party dispute on its relationship with the Congress, the CPI(M) has now decided to enter into an electoral understanding with the main opposition party in states like poll-bound West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Assam where it is not in prime position.

While the party will not enter into any alliance with Congress, the central leadership in a two-day digital meeting that ended on Saturday allowed state units in West Bengal, Assam, and Tamil Nadu to enter into seat adjustments with Congress for Assembly elections next year.

Also read: Secularism cannot be protected unless there is strict separation of religion from politics, says Yechury

The two parties will also hold joint campaign meetings while the party will not have any truck with Congress in Kerala where Fronts led by both the parties are in a direct contest.

Yechury said that the CPI(M) would contest the elections as part of the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu while in Assam, it will contest the elections "in cooperation with all secular opposition parties including the Congress" to defeat the incumbent BJP government, which is "sharpening communal polarisation, destabilising social harmony and heaping miseries" on the people.

"In West Bengal, the CPI(M) and the Left Front will have an electoral understanding with all secular parties, including the Congress, which seek to defeat the BJP and the Trinamool Congress," Yechury told a press conference after the Central Committee meeting.

The decision came as the faction led by Prakash Karat, which has been opposed to any truck with the Congress, finally caved in, keeping in mind that there is a need for a broader coalition to fight the BJP-RSS, a stand taken at the Hyderabad Party Congress two years ago.

The Karat faction had the support of the Kerala unit but in a Polit Bureau meeting last week, the state leaders accepted that the political situation has changed. This marks a final victory for CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, who has been advocating a broad-based secular combination to fight the RSS-BJP.

The Karat-led faction, so far, was of the view that the "main task" of defeating the BJP "has to be done without having an understanding or electoral alliance" with the Congress. Yechury has been arguing that the party should not close its door and be flexible in states where CPM is not strong, which was accepted by the Party Congress in Hyderabad in 2018.

The CPI(M) has already fought the 2019 Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu along with a front led by DMK, in which Congress was a member, and had managed to win two seats. Similarly in the ongoing Bihar Assembly elections, CPI(M) and other Left parties are part of a Grand Alliance led by RJD in which Congress is the second major partner.

The party had an electoral understanding with Congress in West Bengal in the 2016 Assembly elections but the Central Committee later had said that it was a wrong move. The Bengal unit had been arguing for electoral understanding with Congress for a long time to take on the Trinamool Congress and BJP.

In the latest Rajya Sabha elections in Bengal, Congress had supported CPI(M) candidate Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya.