Ahead of the crucial last two phases of polling – including 33 Lok Sabha seats of West Bengal – Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat on Tuesday described the heated exchanges between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) as a ``shadow war’’ of words.

``The BJP is criticising and at the same time wooing [West Bengal Chief Minister] Mamata Banerjee as seen in the approach and speeches of [prime ministerial candidate] Narendra Modi and [president] Rajnath Singh.’’ Accusing both parties of indulging in ``competitive communal politics’’, Mr. Karat said: ``Thus the fight against the BJP and the Hindutva forces all over the country and the struggle in West Bengal being waged by the Left and democratic forces are inextricably linked. It becomes imperative to defeat the BJP at the national level and to rebuff the venomous anti-Communist reactionary force, the TMC, in West Bengal.’’

He has made these observations in an article for the forthcoming issue of the party organ People’s Democracy. Titled `Defeat the Communal and Disruptive Politics’, the article takes note of the ``concerted communal campaign’’ being conducted by the BJP and the RSS in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

``Despite what the corporate media is projecting as Narendra Modi’s election platform being about development and good governance, Modi is harping on issues which are at the core of the anti-Muslim outlook of the RSS,’’ Mr. Karat has said. As examples, the article flags Mr. Modi’s reference to `pink revolution’ in Bihar in a bid to portray the export of buffalo meat as beef exports ``to raise the bogey of cow slaughter’’, and appeal to Lord Ram and Shiva in Uttar Pradesh to ``bolster his political rhetoric’’.

Citing the recent violence in Assam, Mr. Karat said it was a repercussion of the campaign against Bengali-speaking Muslims dubbed as infiltrators by Mr. Modi in his campaign speeches in the region. In West Bengal and Assam, Mr. Modi has attacked “Bangladeshi infiltrators”; declaring they will have to return to Bangladesh after May 16. ``The renewed campaign against Bangladeshi infiltrators has contributed to this attack against Bengali-speaking Muslims by the Bodo extremist elements.’’

Unhappy with the ``inability’’ of the Election Commission to order repoll in the 1,300-plus booths in West Bengal where the CPI(M) has alleged rigging in the polling on April 30, Mr. Karat urged people of the State to rebuff the ``goondaism’’ and ‘threats of the TMC goons’’ in the next two phases.