CPI blames CPI-M, lack of alliance clarity for Bengal debacle

Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) The CPI on Tuesday blamed the lack of clarity in the tie-up between the Congress and the Left Front for the coalition’s defeat in the recent West Bengal assembly elections, but said the arrangement needs to be continued to combat the post poll violence “unleashed by the ruling Trinamool Congress”.

Briefing media persons on the party’s poll analysis, state Communist Party of India (CPI) secretary Prabodh Panda criticised LF major Communist Party of India-Marxist for walking the extra mile in cosying up to the Congress.

He maintained there was no alliance between the LF and the Congress, but only “seat adjustment for the assembly polls.

“Had there been an alliance, there would have been a joint manifesto, a convenor, a joint programme. We had only gone for a seat adjustment with the Congress for the assembly polls. Now the polls are over,” he said when asked about the future of the tie-up in the state.

“But at the same time, we feel just because the elections are over, the need for the arrangement (with the Congress) has not ended. The people’s issues raised during the campaign are still relevant.

“The ruling party has let loose a reign of terror across the state. They’ve started a politics of elimination of all opposition forces. We need to combat that through a united protest movement.”

Asked whether the party wanted the Congress also to be part of the protests, he countered: “If your house is on fire, will you pick and choose who would come to your aid, or take help from everybody?”

However, Panda hedged a question on joining protests convened by the Congress, saying “Let them call us first.”

The CPI secretary said the LF-Congress understanding failed to earn the people’s trust despite raising high expectations.

He said the masses still have doubts over whether the “serious mistakes and wrongdoings” seen during the LF regime would not be repeated. “We didn’t admit our mistakes and apologise during the campaign. Instead, the arrogance of some of our leaders and workers only deepened the people’s doubts.”

The CPI leader said there was no clarity about the understanding reached between two “conflicting forces”. “It was variously described as an understanding, seat adjustment, people’s alliance. Initially it was said there would be no joint campaign or platform sharing, but it all happened later.”

Panda also took a swipe at former state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s joint election rally where the duo had been greeted with a giant floral garland.

“The leadership of LF and Congress were even seen sharing a garland on the campaign stage.”

The CPI also said the “alliance or understanding” had been portrayed as one between the Congress and the CPI-M, and not only between the LF and the Congress.

“The LF was not given the due importance. Even the state Congress chief (Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury) publicly said his party was holding discussions only with the CPI-M, and there was no need for deliberations with other LF partners.”

He alleged that the local CPI-M leaderships had sided with the Congress candidates in some of the 19 seats where both Congress and LF constituents were present, and that the Congress failed to transfer its votes in the same proportion as achieved by the LF.

Panda said while the LF was gradually getting its base back by organising mass movements, where even Leftists outside the LF were also taking part, the process got stalled due to the pact with the Congress.

He also accused the Trinamool and the BJP of shifting their votes to each other strategically in some constituencies. “The BJP shifted five percent of its votes to the Trinamool. And some confused supporters of the Congress-LF also voted for the ruling party.”

The CPI accepted the election results as a “people’s verdict”, but claimed that the polls were not totally free from “terror and fear”.

The Trinamool won a massive majority by claiming 211 seats in the 294-member assembly. The LF-Congress got only 77, and the BJP and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha three each.

–IANS

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