Not any ideology, but the question of sheer existence has driven the Left Front leaders to have electoral tie up with the Congress.
The decision taken at the party’s extended Central Committee meeting held in Visakhapattanam to maintain equidistance from the Congress and the BJP has taken a back seat. Left Front chairman Biman Bose on Thursday told the party leaders, “Forget the past and think pragmatically.”
The two-day crucial meeting of the CPI(M) state committee to discuss the matter will begin on Friday. Party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechuri and veteran politburo member Prakash Karat will be present at the meeting. For the past one month, former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Suryakanta Misra, party’s state secretary and MP Mohammad Selim have been advocating in favour of the alliance. Congress leaders including WBPCC president Adhir Chowdhury, Abdul Mannan and Pradip Bhattacharya met party’s vice-president Rahul Gandhi and spoke about the alliance.
The fear that has driven both Congress and CPI(M) leaders is the hard fact which they have realised that if quadrangular fight takes place, then the two parties will be washed out. It is a question of mere subsistence that has brought the leaders of the Rightist and Left forces notwithstanding their deep suspicion for each other. So, in a desperate bid to save the party, Left leaders have termed the tie up as “ people’s alliance”.
In 2011 Assembly elections, TMC got 184 seats while the LF, Congress, SUCI, GJM and Independent candidates got 62, 42 , 1,3 and 2 seats. In the past four years in all the by-election, Left Front and Congrss candidates lost their deposits. Trinamool’s strength now is 190 seats, LF 40, Congress 39, SUCI 1, BJP 1, GJM 3 and Independent 2.
Left Front leaders know very well that there would not be any alliance between Congress and Left Front workers except in some areas in the lower level. To take an example, in Beliaghata and Baranagore, hundreds of CPI(M) workers had to leave the area between 1972 and 77 because of the atrocities unleashed by Congress workers, and they will have to vote for Congress candidates now.
A CPI(M) leader, who has been opposing the electoral tie up, recalled after Indira Gandhi declared emergency, the CPI(M) gave slogans calling her as a ‘prostitute’ or ‘witch’. Similarly, the party leaders called Rajiv Gandhi “a thief because of his alleged involvement in the purchase of Bofors guns”. Siddhartha Shankar Ray, who was the Chief Minister between 1970-77, was called a “murderer and the CPI(M) used to say that 1,100 party workers had been killed during this period”.
Even during the UPA II government, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said, “Congress would stand up when we ask them to do so and would sit down at our instruction.” He wondered “can people forget all the past antecedents”.
He maintained that the alliance would be “detrimental to CPI(M) and will help the Trinamool to consolidate its position as CPI(M) will be branded as the opportunist party and both Congress and CPI(M) would fail to challenge the slogans raised by the TMC.”