Bengal polls 2016: JNU issue & 3 other reasons that may finalise Congress-CPM alliance in state

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On Sunday, AICC secretary Paresh Dhanani was on a trip to Kolkata to gauge the mood of the state leaders of the Congress on the strategy for the Assembly election in West Bengal due in a few months.

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The state leaders put up a string demand for a tie-up with the Left during their meeting with Dhanani though he said the final decision would be taken by senior leader AK Antony. The Congress, which has entered into an alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu, is yet to take a call on allying with the Left in Bengal as the high command is reportedly waiting for the outcome of the CPI(M)'s Central Committee meeting scheduled next month.

 

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Both parties seem to be cautious on making a move that is unprecedented in Bengal politics, but some of the latest developments speak in favour of an alliance.

Congress's tie-up with DMK in Tamil Nadu

First is the Congress's alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu. The party, just like in West Bengal, is an equally weak force in Tamil Nadu but managed to revive its alliance with old friend DMK. The alliance there to take on Jayalalithaa, an equally powerful regional leader like Mamata Banerjee, will encourage the state Congress leaders to back their demand for a similar alliance with the Left in Bengal. The Bengal unit of the CPI(M) will also feel boosted by the Congress-DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu.

JNU fiasco may help Congress and Left arrive at a common conclusion

Second, the ongoing fiasco in the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and the authorities' hard response against the students of the Left-leaning institute could have a strong repercussion in the state polls. The vandalising of the signboard outside the CPI(M)'s headquarters in New Delhi allegedly by right-wing elements on Sunday and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's expressing solidarity with the students in JNU are likely to bring the Congress and CPI(M) close at some level and that could reflect in the Assembly polls in Bengal. Leaders and members of both the Congress and Left are set to walk together to protest the JNU incident which shows that they are eager to capitalise on the issue.

Kerala leader Achutanandan's backing Cong-CPM alliance in Bengal will encourage the pro-alliance voices

Third, veteran CPI(M) leader V S Achuthanandan's backing a Congress-CPI(M) alliance in Bengal would give a big psychological push to the Left leaders of Bengal ahead of the Central Committee meeting and weaken the resistance shown by people like Prakash Karat, S R Pillai and Pinarayi Vijayan.

Mamata had made alliance with both Congress & BJP in past but calls the idea of Cong-CPM alliance "unprincipled"

Trinamool Conrgess (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee's describing the Congress and Left's inclination for an alliance as "unprincipled" will also make the demands for the tie-up stronger. The West Bengal chief minister herself has in the past allied with the Congress and BJP as the need arose. She also welcomed former Left leader Abdur Rezzaq Mollah in her party despite dissatisfaction among the supporters since they had suffered when the same Mollah was a dominant political figure during the Left rule. So the double standards in emphasising on principles could harm Mamata's image more and help the Opposition's efforts in forming an anti-TMC alliance.

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