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CPM decides its Congress line: Friends in Bengal, foes in Kerala

In Assam too, where Assembly polls will be held simultaneously, the CPM will fight elections in cooperation with secular opposition parties, including the Congress.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
Updated: November 1, 2020 8:31:04 am
Sitaram Yechury, Yecury on postal ballots to NRI, Sitaram Yechury to CEC, Sunil Arora, NRI voting, India news, Indian expressCPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury. (File)

Preferring pragmatism over ideology, the CPM central committee Saturday decided that the party and the Left front will have an electoral understanding with the Congress to fight against the ruling Trinamool Congress, as also an aggressive BJP, in the forthcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal where both the CPM and Congress have been facing an existential crisis.

In Assam too, where Assembly polls will be held simultaneously, the CPM will fight elections in cooperation with secular opposition parties, including the Congress. In Tamil Nadu, it will be part of the DMK-led alliance of which the Congress will be a constituent.

However, the party is up against the Congress in Kerala, where Assembly elections will be held along with West Bengal in May next year.

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the people of Kerala are “intelligent and mature” to understand the situation. The CPM politburo had last Sunday given the green signal for the Bengal unit’s proposal for a tie-up with the Congress. The Kerala leadership, which was against any tie-up with the Congress, relented and did not object to the move.

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The CPM central committee’s go-ahead for an electoral alliance with the Congress in Bengal and cooperation in Assam comes at a time when both the parties are engaged in a bitter war of words in Kerala over two hot political issues — the arrest of CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son, Bineesh, in a drug-related money laundering case and the gold smuggling case in which CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s former principal secretary, M Sivasankar, has been arrested.

Yechury said, “In 2004, when the CPM had declared that it will support an alternative government that naturally among the opposition parties will be led by the Congress….in such a situation…the people of Kerala elected LDF MPs out of the 20. So don’t underestimate the intelligence and maturity of the people of Kerala.”

“What the BJP has been doing in the last more than one year since its return…people are watching…they know that this danger has to be defeated. I am sure the people of Kerala will fully understand,” he said.

But the arrest of Balakrishnan’s son and the gold smuggling case has put the CPM in a spot. Yechury said the controversies are not a “moral blow”, arguing that Bineesh is not a member of the CPM and the party has no responsibility to defend him.

“A secretary of the Chief Minister or the Chief Minister’s office…the CM immediately suspended him from that position,” he said, adding that action must be taken when violation of law is found.

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