Other States

BJP the real challenge to Left in Bengal, says CPI(ML) leader

Forewarning: CPI (ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya says the BJP will turn Bengal into a battlefield.   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

The BJP is the biggest political adversary of the Left parties in West Bengal, whereas the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is only a temporary and passing threat, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPI-ML] general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said on Tuesday.

“Rather than competing with the BJP against the TMC, the Left parties should compete with TMC against the BJP,” the Left leader told The Hindu.

CPI(M-L) is not a constituent of the Left Front in Bengal but is part of the larger coalition of Left and secular parties who are organising movements together. Mr. Bhattacharya was in Kolkata on November 26, during the all-India strike called by Central trade unions.

The point raised by the CPI(M-L) leader is important because the Left parties, particularly the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has been grappling with the fundamental question of who is a bigger political threat — the Trinamool Congress or the BJP — for past several years.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the main slogan of the Left party was ‘BJP hatato desh bachao! Trinamool hatao, Bangla bachao’ (Remove BJP to save the country; Defeat Trinamool to save Bengal). The slogan was coined by veteran Communist leader and former State chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Clearly in the highly polarised poll battle of 2019, the slogan targeting two political adversaries simultaneously did not bear fruit and the Left failed to win a single Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal.

Political observers of West Bengal feel that the question of who is the more dangerous political adversary has been the Left’s biggest political issue since 2018.

“This is the biggest ideological existential dilemma which the Left parties are facing for past few years,” political analyst Biswanath Chakraborty said.

Explaining the premise of his argument that the BJP is a bigger political adversary than the TMC, the CPI (M-L) leader said the BJP “will turn Bengal into a battlefield which will serve the party’s interest in the rest of the country. Look what is happening in Kashmir — they have put the entire population in jail.”

‘Work to unite people’

“Today when the BJP is threatening to become the most important political force and Communists have become a shadow of what they used to be, one can easily imagine the kind of things they can do in Bengal,” Mr. Bhattacharya said.

He said the Left parties should sensitise the “people of Bengal about the real and imminent threat of BJP” and the second part of campaign should focus on issues that unite the employed rather than harping on the issues that divide the people.

“In Bihar, the reason why the anti- NDA forces did well and came very close to achieving the target was the whole agenda was employment, education, public health. Look at the issues for November 26. This should be the agenda for Bengal polls,” Mr. Bhattacharya said.

The CPI (M-L) leader said is disturbing to see that the voice of Left against BJP was “muted” in West Bengal. “BJP coming to power in West Bengal will not be the party adding one more State to their kitty. BJP in Bengal will be the worst devastation and havoc that they can unleash in India,” Mr. Bhattacharya said.

While the CPI (M-L) leader said the Trinamool Congress is mainly held responsible for the rise of the BJP in West Bengal he added that the CPI(M) should be “blamed for not being able to see the danger and confront it, and not being able to protect its own votes which have fallen to 7% from close to 50 % in the past few years.”

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 7:11:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-the-real-challenge-to-left-in-bengal-says-cpiml-leader/article33225209.ece

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