THE CPM Politburo could not arrive at a consensus on the question of alliance with the Congress for the forthcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal even after a six-hour meeting on Tuesday. The Politburo stood sharply divided with leaders from Kerala rejecting the Bengal unit’s plea for an understanding with the Congress to counter the Trinamool Congress.
Sources said the majority of the members in the Politburo rejected the Bengal unit’s proposal. The proposal along with the Politburo’s view would now be discussed by the central committee on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Bengal state committee’s proposal for an understanding — some leaders said the plea was not for an alliance but for a loose arrangement between the two parties to oust Mamata Banerjee — faced stiff opposition from the Kerala comrades. The meeting, which began at 4 pm, went on till 10 pm without any conclusion.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said a final decision would be taken by the “highest decision-making body”, the Central Committee. Yechury’s predecessor Prakash Karat was opposed to the idea of any adjustment with the Congress. Yechury, sources said, was in favour of the “Siliguri model” of understanding. Sources said the Politburo could not find a middle path, but hoped the Central Committee would find a way out.
There was no seat adjustment in the Siliguri municipal corporation elections last year but an unofficial understanding was in existence between the two sides. There was ground level coordination, which ensured that votes were transferred to the candidate who was in a position to defeat the Trinamool nominee. After the elections, the two parties came together and clinched a formal alliance.
Those opposing an understanding with the Congress point to the political-tactical line approved by the party last year, which forbids joining hands with the Congress. But for Bengal comrades, it was a matter of survival and sources said they argued that the party should look at and consider practical realities. The Kerala brigade opposed this line.
Sources said leaders from Bengal argued that workers at the grassroots of both the CPM and Congress want an understanding. They spoke about the sentiment and mood of the people to oust Mamata. They argued that an understanding between the Left and Congress would help avert a split in the anti-Trinamool Muslim votes.