West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will lead the Left Front in the assembly polls in West Bengal but the CPI(M)’s central leadership on Sunday desisted from making any announcement about Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan.
Faced with its toughest poll battles in its two citadels — where a likely defeat could push the party and the Left Front into political irrelevance at the centre — the CPI(M)'s central leadership seems to be preparing to put the onus of an adverse outcome on the two state units.
For Achuthanandan, 87, whose political career has been a roller-coaster ride, given his differences with party colleagues, another twist might be in the offing.
But denying an assembly seat to the popular chief minister will not be an easy option for the Left.
Many members of party's Politburo are reported to have reservations on the veteran Kerala leader's candidature but they don't want to do things in haste. The party's state unit is overwhelmingly in favour of its powerful secretary and Achuthanandan's arch rival Pinarayi Vijayan.
Answering questions on Achuthanandan and Bhattacharjee, general secretary Prakash Karat said, "I am sure Bhattacharjee will lead the West Bengal battle." Pressed on whether Achuthanandan would contest, Karat said, "He is a member of the Central Committee and Bhattacharjee of the Politburo. Both enjoy the full support of the party."
Karat said the Kerala state committee is yet to hold its meeting to decide on candidates. Achuthanandan has so far maintained that he would abide by the party's decision.
Even in 2006, following massive public protests, the CPI(M)'s central leadership was forced to reverse the Kerala state unit's decision not to allow the veteran to contest.