The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) has received a body blow from within its top ranks with Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) State secretary V.P. Ramakrishna Pillai publicly speculating that the next government in the State would be controlled by the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF).
The RSP leader came up with his observation in answer to a question in a television interview as to why the party did not get the Rajya Sabha seat it had sought in the just concluded elections. He explained that his party did not take the Communist Party of India (Marxist) offer to give the seat after the first three years because there was no guarantee that the LDF would come to power after the next Assembly elections and thus be able to ensure the victory of the LDF candidate then.
Mr. Pillai, who had allegedly refused to stake claim to the Rajya Sabha seat when the CPI(M) was willing to spare it in the last but one round to the polls to the upper House on account of factionalism in the party, has been reportedly pleading with the party national leadership for permission to leave the LDF and look for other options.
According to party insiders, he had raised this demand at the recently held party national executive committee meeting, but was rebuffed by both the Central leaders and representatives of the Bengal RSP unit.
His observation regarding the fate of the LDF has not gone down well with either the alliance leadership or Mr. Pillai's own party leaders and cadres.
Sources in the CPI(M) said no offer relating to the Rajya Sabha seat as claimed by Mr. Pillai was made at any point of time during the intra-alliance negotiations.
The CPI(M) had staked claim to both seats. There was a suggestion that the party should let the RSP have the seat for the first three years so that it could send party general secretary T.J. Chandrachoodan to the Rajya Sabha. However, since the CPI(M) was not in a position to part with the seat, the LDF State committee had decided accordingly, LDF convener Vaikom Viswan told The Hindu on Sunday.
Expressing dismay at Mr. Pillai's statement, a senior RSP leader said it was sad that a leader of his stature should make such observations, whatever the provocation.