The resounding win of the CPM-led LDF in Kerala was overshadowed Thursday by the rout in West Bengal where the CPM strategy to join hands with the Congress turned out to be a disaster. Within hours of the debacle in the east, the Sitaram Yechury-Prakash Karat fault line in the CPM deepened with Karat making clear that the electoral tie-up in West Bengal was “their tactics” and did not have approval of the the party central leadership.
“It is a tactic which they had adopted in West Bengal. We will examine it. They adopted the tactics in West Bengal. I make it clear… their tactics… It is not the central committee which decided this,” Karat told The Indian Express.
Yechury, who many believe agreed to the “tactics” proposed by an unsure state leadership, said “we will examine the reasons and review these results as far as the Left Front’s poor performance in Bengal is concerned… the tactics adopted by the Left Front… in order to draw proper lessons for the future.”
Sources said the first fallout of the Bengal fiasco will actually be on display in Kerala when the CPM state leadership meets to pick the next Chief Minister in the presence of general secretary Yechury and his predecessor Karat, now a politburo member.
Karat, insisted that a decision on the next chief minister be made in Thiruvananthapuram Friday at the leadership meetings. This means that the ball will not be in the court of the central leadership although the politburo is set to meet this Sunday.
“It (CM candidate) will be decided there tomorrow… We are going there. There are enough PB (politburo) members there,” Karat said.
Indicating that Pinarayi Vijayan would be chosen to head the LDF government, a senior CPM leader told The Indian Express: “With the Bengal experiment ending in a fiasco, Yechury now may not push V S Achuthanandan’s name for the post of Chief Minister. The state secretariat and state committee is packed with Pinarayi loyalists or Achuthanandan baiters. And if the decision is to be made in Thiruvananthapuram, then it is clear who will be the next chief minister.”
Senior leaders of the CPM who were in Delhi met to analyse the election outcome. After the meeting, a statement issued by the party merely said that the CPM central committee and West Bengal state committee will examine the reasons for the poor performance of the Left Front and the electoral tactics adopted to draw proper lessons.
For the CPM, the big worry is that while the Congress improved its numbers in alliance with the Left, the CPM and the Left lost half their seats. The Congress improved its tally from 42 to 44 while the Left numbers plunged from 60 to 32.
Yechury, however, said the situation in West Bengal is still the same as 2014 when the Lok Sabha elections were held. “There is no significant improvement for which we tried which needs serious examination and review,” he said.
Told of the discordant voices within, he said “all these are matters on which we cannot comment now”.
“It will have to be done only after a proper review. Initial statements and initial reactions… that is not going to serve the purpose. A proper review of the results and the electoral tactics will be undertaken,” he said.