Bengal Pact: Kerala CPIM in a quandary.
News analysis

Bengal Pact: Kerala CPIM in a quandary.

R. Harikumar

As the Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala poses big resistance to the party’s effort to emerge as a force to reckon with in national politics after Lok Sabha polls, the Politburo’s nod to its West Bengal state unit to join hands with Congress may put CPM Kerala Unit in a quandary. Even though the decision to cooperate with Congress was taken by the Politburo with the knowledge and consent of Kerala leadership, it is sure that the party and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) will have an uphill task explaining the reasons for cobbling such an alliance in Bengal.

It is a fact that CPM unit in Bengal has no other option, but to align with Congress. The aggressive postures taken by the ruling Trinamool Congress and militant BJP ahead of general elections have pushed the other parties including CPM and Congress off centre stage. The CBI move to round up Mamata government using Sarada chit fund scam and Mamata Banerjee’s unprecedented retaliation by an indefinite sit-in strike in front of the Metro channel at Esplanade in Kolkata created a peculiar political situation in Bengal.

Actually, the Left in Bengal through the mass contact programmes and struggles against Mamata government’s policies was able to improve it’s lost mass base to some extent. The improvement in mass base was evident with huge participation of workers and poor farmers in the massive rally organised by the Left in Brigade Parade ground last week. But the stand-off between the Centre and State Government regarding the CBI investigation on Sarada scam has given Mamata a larger than life image as the only leader who alone has the capacity to challenge Prime Minister Modi and BJP openly. The sit in strike and the subsequent media coverage, bestowed upon her an aura of the tallest leader in the present Opposition. On the contrary, BJP emerged as the principal opposition capable of taking on Mamata in West Bengal. The huge turn out in mammoth rallies attended by Prime Minister Modi has increased the confidence level of BJP workers in Bengal substantially.

BJP’s calculation is that the aggressive posture against Mamata will help them to garner support even from the Left rank and file. The more vehemently we oppose Mamata in Bengal, the more support we get from the Left and other parties including Congress, a BJP leader said.

But the political situation in Kerala is the other way round. The CPM led LDF and Congress led UDF and BJP led NDA are waging three-cornered electoral battle in Kerala. Even though there is an atmosphere of triangular contest, there are only five-six seats where BJP cherishes big dreams. It is a significant beginning for them.

The open sharing of seats and cooperation between CPM and Congress will provide BJP with a new weapon. They will raise a question, why the CPM and Congress are fighting each other in Kerala? In other parts of the country including Bengal, they have formed alliances. It would be good, if the Left and Congress could stitch together an alliance in Kerala also, in tune with national pattern’, a BJP leader pointed out.

On the other hand, CPM state leadership is very cautious in dealing with situation arising out of the Bengal decision. The cooperation in Bengal will have no impact in Kerala. The situations in Kerala and Bengal are different. In Bengal the Left has to take on Trinamool’s tyranny and BJP’s communalism. The Bengal comrades have to fight a two-pronged war there.

In earlier elections too, CPM state units have cooperated with UPA constituents in different states. In our neighbouring state Tamil Nadu also, such alliances were formed. That cooperation and electoral adjustment had no effect in earlier elections of Kerala, a CPM leader explained.

“The only thing CPM has to do is that, it should come out and declare alliance. The people in Kerala are capable of assessing the political situation in Bengal. The hesitation usually exhibited by party leadership in explaining these kind of electoral adjustments in earlier polls are used by media to create ambiguity in party workers. Such a situation should be avoided,”another CPM leader said.

But the Congress leadership in Kerala is happy with latest developments in Bengal. They are of the opinion that by the decision to join hands with Congress in Bengal, CPM has openly conceded that only Congress can stop BJP from returning to power.