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CPI(M) okays Bengal pact with Congress

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The CPI(M) central committee has approved the State unit’s decision to have an electoral understanding with all secular parties including the Congress in the West Bengal Assembly elections scheduled for April.

Earlier the party’s Polit Bureau had approved the decision on Tuesday leaving the final call for the central committee.

“In West Bengal, the CPI(M) and the Left Front will have an electoral understanding with all secular parties, including the Congress, which seek to defeat the BJP and the TMC,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said at a press conference held following the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the central committee.

In the 2016 Assembly elections, the central leadership had disapproved the Bengal unit’s decision to have tactical electoral understanding calling for a rectification during the review of election results later on. The Congress had won 44 seats and the Left Front ended up with just 32.

The Central Committee had concluded then that “the electoral tactics evolved in West Bengal were not in consonance with the central committee decision based on the political-tactical line of the party, which states that there shall be no alliance or understanding with the Congress”.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, despite efforts from the CPI(M) and other Left parties, the Congress did not agree to have a formal arrangement in West Bengal.

In 2016, the Kerala unit of the CPI(M) was the fiercest critic of the Bengal unit’s decision to go along with the Congress, arguing that the party cannot contest the Congress in one State and join hands with it in another. This time around, though, according to the sources, the members in both the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee were also on board with the alliance.

“The people of Kerala are very mature. In 2004, when the party had announced the decision to support an alternate government led by the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Kerala had elected 18 Left Democratic Front candidates of the 20 Lok Sabha seats. So do not underestimate the Kerala voters,” Mr. Yechury said.

The party has also agreed for a similar alliance in Assam which will also go to the polls next year. The aim, Mr. Yechury, said is to defeat the incumbent BJP government which is sharpening communal polarisation, destabilising social harmony and heaping miseries on the people. The Kerala and the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections too are scheduled next year. In Tamil Nadu, the CPI(M) will contest as part of the DMK-led alliance. And in Kerala, it will stick to the present Left Democratic Front alliance.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 3:11:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/assembly-polls-cpim-approves-bengal-units-decision-for-pact-with-congress/article32991849.ece

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