In a predictable setback for the opposition bloc, the CPI-M has decided against alliances in Bengal and Kerala, where its main rivals are INDIA partners Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool and the Congress. Additionally, it has decided not to name any representative for coordination meetings of the anti-BJP front.
The CPM has decided to maintain a distance from “both the BJP and the Trinamool” in Bengal, exposing the fault lines in the opposition alliance that aims to fight unitedly in an attempt to defeat the BJP in next year’s national election.
The decisions were taken at a meeting of the CPM’s politburo in Delhi over the weekend, to prevent division of opposition votes.
The decision “doesn’t negate the possibility of forging an alliance”, said Politburo member Nilotpal Basu, a former Rajya Sabha member.
“There are differences (within INDIA Bloc), and it is a reality,” Nilotpal Basu told NDTV.
“Before the Bengaluru INDIA bloc meeting, Sitaram Yechury made it clear that in West Bengal, we think the fight will be against both BJP And Trinamool, in Kerala there will be a fight between UDF and LDF. You cannot have an electoral adjustment at the national level, it can only happen at state level,” he said.
Mr Basu also defended the decision to stay away from the INDIA coordination committee, saying any organisational structure within INDIA would create an impediment in the way of expansion of the grouping.
The CPM did not attend the INDIA coordination committee meeting last week; a seat was kept vacant in the 14-member panel.
The Left’s decision may not unsettle Mamata Banerjee, given her strong obvious discomfiture with the idea of sharing a stage with Left leaders.
The CPM politburo’s statement after the meeting does not spell out these decisions. On record, it said it would work for the consolidation and expansion of the alliance.
“The Polit Bureau decided to work for the further consolidation and expansion of INDIA bloc to strengthen the efforts to safeguard the secular democratic character of the Indian Republic, the Constitution, Democracy and People’s fundamental rights and civil liberties. This requires that the BJP must be kept away from controlling the union government and state power. The Polit Bureau decided to further strengthen these efforts,” said the statement.
The politburo said it also endorsed the party’s stand in the last three meetings of the INDIA bloc in Patna, Bengaluru and Mumbai to organise a series of public meetings across the country and to mobilize the people to ensure the defeat of the BJP in upcoming elections.
However, it did indicate its reservations over the INDIA bloc’s “organisational structures”. “While all decisions will be taken by the leaders of the constituents, there should be no organisational structures that will be an impediment for such decisions,” the statement said.
The party refused to name its representative for the INDIA Coordination and Election Strategy committee after senior Congress leader Kamal Nath scrapped the INDIA rally in Bhopal.
The CPM-Mamata Banerjee rivalry is just one of the complicated relationships that plague the opposition bloc formed in July with the name INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance). The other is the Congress vs Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) feud.
Kamal Nath, according to reports, had conveyed to his leadership the hypocrisy of an INDIA rally when AAP had announced candidates against the Congress for the Madhya Pradesh polls later this year.