With panchayat elections in Bengal just a year away and the land acquisition policy of the government alienating an increasing number of farmers in the state, at least two major partners of the Left Front – the CPI and the RSP - have begun distancing themselves from the CPI(M).
Convinced that it will be impossible to avoid the brunt of public ire during the poll if they are identified with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s model of industrialisation, the CPI and the RSP have decided to intensify their criticism against land acquisition for setting up Special Economic Zones, industries and infrastructure.
The RSP central committee, which is currently meeting in Delhi, has already discussed with CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and CPI General Secretary AB Bardhan conveying the party’s apprehension that the panchayat poll in Bengal next year would be disastrous unless land acquisition policy is reversed.
Insiders, however, say that while the senior leadership of the CPI and the RSP keep themselves busy designing policies of remaining with the Front and yet distancing themselves from the CPI(M) before the panchayat polls, the more extreme elements at the district level are in favour of searching for friends in the emerging new alliance of Bhumi Ucched Protirodh Committee comprising Trinamool Congress, Jamayat Ulema-e Hind and the Naxalites.
"Pressure is mounting on us. Some want us to even quit the Left Front because they are convinced that public support is finally turning against the Front after 30 years of our rule. But I think they will eventually understand that it is still our political compulsion to keep the Left Front united," a senior RSP leader said from Delhi. Top CPI leaders in Kolkata, too, admitted that such pressure was mounting even in their party.
Disgruntled elements are, however, yet to be convinced. "Leftism is a political position. If so-called rightist forces like the Trinamool Congress and the Jamayat take a leftist stand on the issue of development in Bengal, we should not hesitate to join hands with them," argued a state committee leader of the RSP.
"The CPI(M) is trying to relax land ceiling in the state. We are opposing it in the assembly select committee. If they still take it to the House for voting ignoring our objections, it will indeed be a difficult situation for us," admitted CPI state secretary Manju Majumdar candidly.
According to CPI(M) insiders, pressure is mounting even in the Marxist party, against the land acquisition policy of the government. A section of district leaders have already urged party state secretary Biman Bose to ask the government not to proceed with the land acquisition for the Salim Group projects of Indonesia before the panchayat polls.