Initial draft of CPI-M press release blamed Congress for Left’s defeat in Tripura
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Initial draft of CPI-M press release blamed Congress for Left’s defeat in Tripura

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury refused to let the press release go out and was of the view that it would be incorrect to blame the Congress for Left’s defeat.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2018 23:29 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yehchury with politburo members Biman Bose, Brinda Karat, and other leaders, at a rally.(PTI File Photo)

A draft press release of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) prepared by some politburo leaders a day after it lost Tripura squarely blamed the Congress’ dismal performance for losing its base in the northeastern state to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a senior Left leader said.

The CPI(M) leader said the initial draft pointed out with statistics how the Congress’ vote share had dwindled to just 2% while the BJP gained votes. The draft, however, was changed later.

“It indicated that while the Left has been able to largely retain its vote base, it is the Congress that is responsible for the BJP’s rise and thereby, the fall of the Left, in the landlocked state,” the leader added.

A majority of the state’s 2.5 million voters decided against giving a sixth consecutive term to the CPI(M) in the country’s first direct Left-Right electoral contest, opting instead for the BJP.

The saffron party, with its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), comfortably crossed the majority mark, leaving the Left party a distant second.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury was in Shimla to attend a meeting of the Himachal state unit of the party and when the draft was sent to him through e-mail, he refused to let it go out.

“He was of the view that it would be incorrect to blame the Congress for Left’s defeat. He pointed out that two years ago, a party document had stated that the BJP has become the axis for all the anti-Left forces in the state. So, the Congress’ position was well known,” said another CPI(M) leader.

According to party leaders in the know of things, the published press release was a diluted version of the original text.

“The BJP has, apart from other factors, utilised massive deployment of money and other resources to influence the elections. The BJP was able to consolidate all the anti-Left votes, virtually appropriating the erstwhile main opposition party, the Congress,” the release about the Tripura election merely said.

It comes at a time when a large section of the party is keen on keeping the doors open for political adjustments with the Congress in the 2019 election.

Another senior party leader also pointed out that blaming the Congress was politically wrong because weeks before the voting, a delegation of the grand old party met Manik Sarkar and the then chief minister told them to contest all seats to curb the BJP’s influence.

“The Left has always taken a critical view of the Congress-INPT (Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra) alliance in the past. This year, the Congress didn’t have that alliance and that too helped the BJP consolidate the tribal votes,” said a central committee leader.

First Published: Mar 22, 2018 10:49 IST