‘Knives are out againt CPI-M Bengal brigade’

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New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) With the exit polls predicting that the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Congress alliance in West Bengal unlikely to wrest power, knives are out in the Left outfit against the “Bengal brigade”.

“We Communists generally avoid commenting on predictions. But this year’s elections in Bengal were different. Many opposed the partnership with the Congress. So if the results are according to the exit polls, we will not have anything to cheer about,” a CPI-M leader told IANS.

Besides, fear of violence looms large on the Communist cadres. A section of CPI-M leaders from rural West Bengal has flagged the party’s central leadership that if the results go in favour of the Trinamool Congress then “the Left cadres, foot soldiers and supporters could be target of renewed violence”.

Observers point out that such a fear indicates that the CPI-M cadres have reconciled with the possible defeat in their erstwhile bastion. CPI-M-led Left Front had lost power to Mamata Banerjee in the 2011 election.

Informed sources in CPI-M said that another humiliating defeat at the hands of arch-rival Trinamoool Congress could eventually lead to “the loss of face for the Bengal brigade” who had insisted on an alliance with the Congress.

“Kerala leaders and party hardliners led by Prakash Karat were not very keen for the alliance. Even from Tripura there was opposition to such a move. But Bengal leaders led by Biman Bose and Suryakanta Mishra insisted for a seat adjustment with the Congress. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar too was against any alliance with the Congress,” a CPI-M leader said.

The party leader, who did not wished to named, pointed out that such was the acrimony over alliance with the Congress — which has been a traditional foe in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura — that the day party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury announced a tie-up with the Congress “no other senior leader was seen alongside him during the media briefing”.

Reports from party’s office at 31, Alimuddin Street in Kolkata reaching Delhi in the last two days suggest that even veteran leader Biman Bose is not showing much enthusiasm about the poll results.

In fact, the mid-level party leaders, who once said that CPI(M)-Congress “Maha-Jot (Grant Alliance)” can win nearly 180-200 seats in the 294-member assembly, have now withdrawn themselves.

The mood at the party’s central office in Delhi on Wednesday hinted that the “Bengal brigade’s position will be diluted in both the CPI-M politburo and the central committee”.

Interestingly, in intra-party politics, general secretary Yechury, also a Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal, generally draws his strength from this Bengal brigade.

Apparently, a large number of cadres in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal have also protested through intra-party channels about a “totally unwarranted photo session” between former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Kolkata during poll campaign.

–IANS

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