S. Dorairaj

Accuse each other of violating alliance dharma

  • CPI accused of fielding nominees in CPI (M) wards
  • Both parties admit bad blood crept into the Left camp
  • Differences will not affect DPA prospects, they say

    CHENNAI: Differences between the two communist parties over allocation of seats in the local body elections came to the fore on Monday with State secretary of the Communist Party of India D. Pandian taking exception to the reported remark of his Communist Party of India (Marxist) counterpart N. Varadarajan on violation of "alliance dharma."

    Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Pandian said Mr.Varadarajan had accused the CPI of "deliberately" putting up its nominees at municipal wards allotted to the CPI (M). It was the CPI (M) leader who had violated the alliance dharma by making such remarks at a public meeting in Tuticorin on Sunday, he said.

    Mr.Varadarajan did not raise the issue at a public meeting jointly addressed by leaders of the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) in Madurai on October 6, when Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi expressed the hope that problems of seats sharing in districts would be sorted out amicably, he said.

    Undeterred by the CPI (M)'s criticism, the CPI would go ahead with its poll strategy to safeguard its interests, he added.

    Stoutly denying Mr. Pandian's claim, CPI (M) sources said it was the CPI that violated the spirit of unity by putting up its candidates at wards allocated for the CPI (M) in some places.

    For instance, in the Kovilpatti municipality the CPI nominated its official candidates at four of the 11 wards earmarked for the CPI (M). Mr.Varadarajan had only pointed out that the CPI's move was wrong and appealed to the party to withdraw its candidates, they said.

    "There is no point in the CPI feeling that it has been cut to size simply because the CPI (M) got more seats. The CPI (M) contested the last civic elections independently and scored impressive gains, particularly in Kovilpatti and Tirupur municipalities," said a CPI (M) leader.

    But leaders of both parties admitted that bad blood crept into the Left camp during the last Assembly elections. A lot of heartburn was caused by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's decision to allot to the CPI (M) three Assembly seats more than what was given to the CPI.

    "The two communist parties decided then to argue their case independently. Seats were allotted on the basis of the bargaining skills of the parties. We never asked the CPI to settle for ten seats," a CPI(M) veteran said.

    Even in the local body poll, the CPI (M) had been earmarked more posts of chairpersons of municipalities, town panchayats, panchayat unions and district panchayats, on the basis of the DMK's assessment of the strength of the parties, he said.

    The CPI (M) did not hesitate to go it alone in some places, including the Chennai and Salem corporations, where the DMK did not allot seats proportionate to its strength, he added.

    Minor differences

    However, leaders of the two communist parties asserted that the "minor differences" would not come in the way of strengthening the Left unity.

    It would not affect the prospects of the victory of the DPA in the local body elections either, they said.