LF-Congress alliance will have impact beyond Bengal: CPI-M (IANS interview)

Kolkata, May 2 (IANS) Indicating that the Left-Congress alliance in West Bengal will continue even after the assembly polls, the CPI-M says the tie-up will have an impact in the long run.

“There has been no formal announcement of any alliance. In the conventional term, there is hardly any alliance,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Mohammad Salim told IANS.

“It is born out of people’s aspirations and wishes and their anxiety about the state’s future after five years of Trinamool Congress misrule. It is a bottom up alliance, not a top down one,” the 58-year-old added.

“It will have an impact not only in this election but even beyond,” said Salim, when asked whether the Left and the Congress would fight the 2019 Lok Sabha polls too jointly in the state.

Terming the tie-up between the Left Front spearhead CPI-M and the Congress as a tactical approach to avoid a split in anti-Trinamool votes, Salim dismissed criticism that the newly formed relationship would affect the credibility of the Left which opposes the Congress in Kerala and Tripura.

“We talk of unity in diversity… One must recognise the peculiarity and uniqueness of each state, be it Tripura or Kerala or Kashmir.

“Elections are fought on issues. In no two states are the elections fought on similar issues,” Salim said in the interview.

He stressed that a resurgent Left in Bengal would have a big impact on the country.

“Over the past four-five years there has been a campaign in the country that the Left has vanished. A good show in Bengal will put a stop to such propaganda.

“Also, a resurgent Left in Bengal will impact the workers, peasants, as also the younger generation across India. They are now feeling dejected and disillusioned.”

With elections in 269 of the 294 assembly seats over, Salim exuded confidence of the Left-Congress combine forming the next government.

While Left Front chairman Biman Bose had initially ruled out any joint campaign or platform sharing with the Congress, the two forces continued to come closer as the days went by.

Top leaders of the Congress and the Left, particularly those of the CPI-M, not only vigorously campaigned together, the red flags fluttered along with the tri-colour of the Congress across the state.

In a climax, former chief minister and CPI-M stalwart Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee shared a stage with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi last month at an election rally here attended by thousands from both sides.

“The momentum has built up over the past one and a half months. The people-centric alliance we have formed has reached out to every nook and corner of the state.

“We know what to do, and how to do. And we have done and will do everything that is needed to be done to establish the credibility, reliability and winnability of the alliance,” said Salim, who played a major role in the election campaign.

Amid criticism that the alliance’s major drawback was its failure to project a chief ministerial nominee, Salim said the rules of parliamentary democracy do not require projecting anyone during the campaign.

“In a multi-party democracy, people elect their representatives, and whichever combine or party gains majority, they elect their leader to run the government.

“Unfortunately, of late Indian politics and the media are so much influenced by the American system that a face is projected and cultivated by spending an enormous amount of money.

“We hear orchestrated shouts of ‘Modi, Modi’. But that’s not the way to gain people’s trust.”

He added: “While the Trinamool is a single-person party, there is no dearth of talented and popular leaders on our side.”

–IANS

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