SEEKING TO revive their political fortunes in West Bengal, both CPM and the Congress Wednesday pitched for an alliance, which they said was “inevitable and imminent” with the leaders of the two parties saying that they should forget the past and work together for better future of the state.
“When your house is on fire or is being robbed, you turn to your immediate neighbour for help, without thinking when was the last time you had a fight with the neighbour. An alliance should be done looking at the future and not by hanging on to the past,” CPM politburo member Mohammed Salim told a seminar here.
“It is true that we (CPM) had opposed Congress during Emergency. But presently the situation in the state is nothing but unannounced emergency. This is not the time to think about past differences, but to work together towards the common goal of progress of Bengal,” he said at the seminar —- ‘Ensuing Elections in West Bengal: The Road Ahead —- organised by Center for Peace and Progress.
Asked about the present situation on the alliance, Salim said: “I am not the high command. I can only say there is a process in our party and it is going through it. But I would like to say that it is CPM, which is the champion of coalition politics in post independent India”.
State Congress general secretary Om Prakash Mishra echoed Salim. “There had been a time when Salim was a member of the ruling party and I was a member of the Opposition. We still have a lot to speak against each other and there are ideological differences. But, at the moment both of us are members of Opposition parties and for the sake of over nine crore people of Bengal, there should be an alliance between the two parties. We need to give the people of Bengal an alternative,” Mishra said.
He, however, added that the factors in Kerala, where the two parties are contesting against each other, are different than that in Bengal.
Mishra also came to the defence of the CPM and said that blaming the 34 years of Left rule for all the prevailing lawlessness in Bengal will not help the ruling TMC.
TMC leader Sabyasachi Bagchi, meanwhile, said the proposed CPM-Congress alliance will not be able to fetch any results as people will vote in favour of developmental politics pursued by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “It is the developmental politics pursued by Mamata Banerjee that will fetch results. Alliance or no alliance, opposition won’t be able to win the polls as they do not want to pursue developmental politics,” he said.
Bagchi, however, left the discussion early saying it had turned into a “platform for election campaigning rather than a discussion and people are hitting below the belt”.
Others panellists included noted lawyer and Congress leader Arunava Ghosh, BJP state general secretary Biswapriya Roy Choudhury and Prof Ambikesh Mohapatra. All the speakers criticised the Trinamool and highlighted the prevailing “misrule and lawlessness”. Ghosh also said that the CBI is going slow in investigating the ponzi scams. Roy Choudhury said that education, health and industrial sectors have collapsed and the state is in a worse condition than what it was earlier.