By Tirthankar Mitra
West Bengal CPI(M) is in a bind following a considerable section of its rank and file cosying up to their BJP counterparts. The reason is neither an ideological meltdown or desertion for fished or loaves but a desire for survival in the face of apparently overwhelming onslaught of Trinamool Congress activists.
A stock taking meet of the CPI(M) has called upon the activists to bring back those who have hung up their gloves. The reason behind closing rank of some CPI(M) and BJP activists lie the cause which made these dyed in the wool CPI(M) activists forsake the political arena
The CPI(,M)activists are feeling the wall behind their back after having been in a position of calling shots in every political and societal issues over the years. Seeing the cookie crumbling even as the space of their party shrinks in the Opposition, these CPI(M) activists are on the lookout for a helping hand from the BJP which is unacceptable to their leadership.
The activists walking down the path less travelled with new found friends of the saffron camp have already reaped political dividends. The unlikely alliance’s have tasted electoral success in some of the elections in cooperative bodies in Midnapur (east).
In this backdrop, the dissent voiced by the party leadership is loud and clear. And it has come when those not towing the party line of staying away from BJP are making out a case for policy change for tactical reasons.
It seems at a first glance that the dissidents are treading the correct path. A change of policy even for a brief period is the need of the hour to gain a toehold in the path to political survival.
But a look between the lines reveal the apprehension of the CPI(M) leadership. It fears that the saffron plot is to infiltrate and implode the camp of the biggest partner of the Left Front which has been most vocal against BJP.
The CPI(M) state committee has read the tea leaves. Reprimands have been read out and disciplinary actions taken to weed out any disagreement with the party line lest CPI(M) loses its ideological bulwark against BJP.
The accuracy of the apprehension of CPI(M) elders is underscored by the soft pedalling of the issue by BJP leadership. Whenever it is on weak ground, it has extended support to the CPI(M) in the municipalities, panchayats and cooperatives which has encouraged local CPI(M) leaders and activists no end.
Helping hand of the CPI(M) activists is a boon to the saffron camp, given the weak organisational base of the BJP at the booth level. State BJP chief, Sukanta Majumdar has said though no alliance has been spelt out, his outfit ‘s rank and file closing ranks with its CPI(M) counterparts is not ruled out in the rural polls.
If the CPI(M) leadership is loath to have any truck with what has long been its anathema, the house of the Left is hardly in order. Weak organisational base of the Left has been found to exist in several districts on south and north Bengal triggering an understanding with BJP in the rural polls setting aside the leadership’s writ. The base level CPI(M) cadres are taking the line let them defeat first Trinamool first in local elections with BJP in league and then in next stage, once Trinamool is out of power locally, they will take on BJP.
As the panchayat elections are inching closer, the “lack of foresight” of a section of the local leadership is worrying the CPI(M) party elders. Though fissures are yet to develop into cracks, those rooting for survival and a turn around with saffron camp’s assistance are entrenching themselves against those seeking to maintain a proper ideological ground.
West Bengal unit of CPI(M) has already informed the state Congress leadership that it would not share a podium with former strong man from Haldia, Laxman Seth who has been expelled and has now been inducted in Congress as state vice president. In this backdrop it would lose face if its rank and file fight the rural polls in tandem with BJP, a long time ideological opponent of the Left.
Elections are a part and parcel of parliamentary democracy. To sacrifice ideological bedrock of a political party to win such contests and to be in the reckoning once more, is tantamount to signing its death warrant, the CPI(M) leadership opines.
Any port in storm as the vessel is leaking is what those facing the onslaught of the ruling dispensation of West Bengal feel. Political pushovers are not in a position to pick and choose their allies is what is being submitted to underscore the point.
As the rural polls inch closer, time is running out to decide the issue. It is upto the CPI(M) leadership to expeditiously take the call even as a sizeable section of its rank and file marks time between a rock and a hard place. (IPA Service)