A seven-hour long CPI(M) party state secretariat meeting in Kolkata has given the go-ahead for a possible alliance with the Congress in the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal.
50 of the 54 members in attendance were reportedly not keen to repeat their party’s historic blunder of 1996 when CPI(M) did not allow former Bengal CM the late Jyoti Basu to be the Prime Minister.
That the party’s Central Committee has to endorse the decision and that the Congress will have to take the first step forward in proposing such an alliance are the only hurdles left to clear.
Such a decision from the party’s Bengal unit is solely driven with an eye on elections and more to do with quashing the Trinamool Congress’ alarming rise in West Bengal till recently a communist stronghold, sources within the party admit.
Their counterparts in Kerala too are purportedly unhappy as both the Congress and the Left have always been steadfast foes as long as they can remember in the southern state, which apart from Bengal and Tripura is the only state where the Communists can boast of at least a sizeable presence.
"CPI(M) has not taken any decision to have a tie-up with Congress and there is no agenda now before us to have any kind of alliance with that party," senior politburo member and CPIM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said.
Many Bengal Congress leaders had apparently met the party vice-presdient Rahul Gandhi in Delhi to discuss the possibility of such an alliance, but the Congress Central leadership has remained somewhat tight-lipped about the whole issue.
Former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and Tripura CM Manik Sarkar too are said to be against such an electoral alliance, while former Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has of late been asking like-minded parties to unite to take on Mamata Bannerjee’s Trinamool in Bengal.
While Mamata was quick to term the supposed CPI(M) move as opportunistic, The Congress and the CPI(M) were quick to hit back at Mamata’s own tendency to frequently change political alliances.