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CPI(M) keeps door ajar for Congress, explores state pacts

The CPI(M)’s central committee has its task cut out to defeat the BJP alliance, increase the strength of the CPI(M) and the Left Front (all communist parties) in the Lok Sabha, and to ensure that an alternative secular government is formed , a CPI(M) communiqué said

india Updated: Oct 08, 2018 23:53 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CPI(M),Congress,CPIM alliance
General Secretary of CPI(M) Sitaram Yechury in Chandigarh.(HT FIle Photo)

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has agreed to explore state-level understanding or seat adjustments with other Opposition parties and keep the doors open for a post-poll pact with the Congress to form a non-BJP government, after a long internal tussle.

The CPI(M)’s central committee has its task cut out to defeat the BJP alliance, increase the strength of the CPI(M) and the Left Front (all communist parties) in the Lok Sabha, and to ensure that an alternative secular government is formed , its communiqué said.

Insiders add that the decision didn’t come easily and that it took an intense debate between the internal camps allied with Yechury and his predecessor Prakash Karat. Karat pointed out that the CPIM’s Party Congress, its highest political body, rejected “any understanding” with the Congress in the political-tactical line earlier this year, and any arrangement with the Congress would violate that decision.

Yechury, who emerged victorious in that Party Congress, replied that the party needs “more flexibility” to fight polls and said the Party Congress provided enough leeway to enter into a seat-sharing arrangement with other parties. He emphasized that there is an urgent need to maximize the Opposition strength against the BJP.

“The Central Committee agreed on three tasks for the party, the first and foremost being defeating the BJP alliance,” tweeted Yechury.

Observers maintain that CPIM’s poll strategy may have limited utility in the larger national context as the party has shrunk its footprint in many parts of the country and is yet to recover from its losses in West Bengal. The best showing in the parliamentary elections by the Left parties was in 2004 when they won 61 seats.

“Rather than wasting time over wordplays, the Left leadership should devote their energies in fighting the Modi regime effectively. Alarmingly, a large number of CPI(M) cadres are defecting to the BJP in Bengal. The central leaders are clueless on how to retrieve lost ground in the state,” said Prasenjit Bose, economist.

The party will consider seat adjustments will regional parties on a state-to-state basis. “We will consult the state leadership on the best solution and take the call,” said a senior CPIM leader who asked not to be identified. But the party has adopted a wait-and-watch policy for West Bengal, its erstwhile bastion, to see what position the local Congress adopts vis-à-vis polls.

In Kerala, its strongest outpost, the CPIM will continue its alliance with existing partners to retain the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

First Published: Oct 08, 2018 23:53 IST