‘Friends’ in Bengal, foes in Kerala: The curious case of Left & Congress

The Left is facing yet another worrisome pre-election season. The former ruling front of West Bengal, which was toppled by Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) in 2011 after 34 years in power, is favouring a tie-up with the Congress in the upcoming Assembly election in the eastern state.

But the plan has made its wing in Kerala anxious for it is preparing to defeat the Congress-led UDF in the next poll, also scheduled around the same time as in Bengal.

Sitaram Yechury

Kerala cadres uneasy

As per reports, the top leadership of the CPI(M) felt the uneasiness at the recent state committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram over the party's plan of joining hands with the Congress. The Left has recently defeated the UDF in local polls in Kerala and its cadres are upbeat about the upcoming Assembly poll.

In such a circumstance, talks of the front allying with the Congress in Bengal has created apprehensions in its ranks. In fact, the Left is also contesting the civic polls in Tripura, the only state ruled by them in the country now, against the main Opposition Congress. How can there be thus an inconsistency in the party's strategy in state elections held at the same time?

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has tried to convince his party's Kerala cadres that defeating the TMC and BJP is the party's main objective in the Bengal poll. The party leadership, however, has pushed the ball in the other party's (Congress) court saying there has been calls from other ‘secular' quarters to keep the ‘communal forces' at bay in Bengal. It has also tried to avoid the issue at the moment saying the final call will be taken in January.

OneIndia's Take: The Left Front is devoid of any agenda now, just like the Congress in Bengal. Both these parties which had ruled the state for long periods since independence, are exhausted forces in the state politics now and have little capacity to topple Mamata Banerjee from the throne in the near future.

Moreover, the slow rise of the BJP in the state has also put them in a bigger worry as they could be relegated further. This has made an alliance look a survival strategy for both parties.

But given the fact that each state has its own ground reality has made the Left's plan look self-defeating. Since both Bengal and Kerala are going to the polls around the same time, the friendship-cum-enmity stand of the Left will make it look ridiculous and do little in reviving its sinking fortunes in Indian politics.

A shrewd Mamata recently dealt a heavy blow to the Bengal Congress's hope of forging an alliance with the Left for the state polls by backing party president Sonia Gandhi in the National Herald issue. The Bengal Left, on the other hand, is taking enough care of its own downfall.

Mamata Banerjee can relax at the moment.

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