CPI(M) leader and former Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu’s appeal to Congress voters for their support in the November 7 by-elections has irked the Congress and even the Left Front partners.
Although CPI(M) workers have been distributing a leaflet, containing the ailing 94-year-old leader’s appeal since Sunday, Front partners Communist Party of India and Forward Bloc made it clear on Monday that they disagreed with the appeal.
Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghose said, “You all know our party’s stand on the Congress. How can our party seek votes of Congress supporters?” CPI state council secretary Manju Kumar Majumder said, “Since we don't agree with his statement, the question does not arise.”
State Congress spokesman Subrata Mukherjee said, “We’re politically committed to fighting the Left Front and expose its corrupt regime. None of our supporters will give any thought to his appeal.”
Reacting to Mukherjee’s response, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, said, “It is up to the Congress. Whatever they want to say, let them say.”
He said, “No right-thinking person can ignore his suggestion. Basu is a father figure in Indian politics. I think he has made a very right suggestion.”
Basu, who was succeeded by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee after a two-decade-long rule, slammed the Congress-led Central government for price rise and unemployment and sought Congress voters’ support against the alleged Maoist-Trinamool-Congress combine “for the sake of Bengal”.
On the Left Front’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls, Basu admitted that even a section of Left supporters and sympathisers voted against Front candidates.