"Have To Rethink Political Line": CPI(M) On Working With Congress After Tripura Results

The CPI(M) won just 16 seats in the Tripura assembly elections, whereas the Congress failed to get any. The party now rules only one state - Kerala

'Have To Rethink Political Line': CPI(M) On Working With Congress After Tripura Results

Sitaram Yechury has always been in favour of working with the Congress to halt the rise of the BJP.

Kolkata:  The heavy beating of the Left Front in the Tripura Assembly elections has forced the CPI(M) to rethink strategies amid noises within the party for an "adjustment" with the Congress. The defeat has also raised questions within the party on adopting the "right strategy" for survival, party leaders said, ahead of a crucial party meet next month.

"A middle path has to be sorted out to keep a window for adjustment with the Congress. We can't let the BJP derive benefits out of division among Left secular and democratic forces," a senior central committee member said.

The BJP-Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) combine scripted history by winning 43 seats in the 60-member assembly and ending 25 years of uninterrupted rule of the CPI(M)-led Left Front with Manik Sarkar at the helm of the state for two decades. The CPI(M) went home with just 16 seats, whereas the Congress failed to get any. The party now rules only one state - Kerala.

The Left party conceded its defeat and said in a statement, "BJP has, apart from other factors, utilised massive deployment of money and other resources to influence the elections."

CPI(M) politburo member Hannan Mollah said the party is facing one of the toughest situations "forcing us to rethink in a new way".

"We, in our draft resolution, have said we don't want any understanding with the Congress. But now, after the defeat in Tripura, it is a completely new situation where we have to rethink our strategies and political line," Mr Mollah told news agency PTI.

The CPI(M) had in January voted against the draft political resolution by party general secretary Sitaram Yechury proposing an alliance with the Congress. However, in a shift of sort, Mr Mollah said there was always a possibility of changing the draft to incorporate "new options" after discussion.

Mr Yechury, along with a large section of leaders from West Bengal, has been in favour of working with the Congress to halt the rise of the BJP. His political line, however, has been vehemently opposed by the party's Kerala unit, along with politburo member Prakash Karat, known as a hardliner in the CPI(M).

According to CPI(M) sources, the Tripura unit got the taste of BJP's divisive politics in the assembly polls. "But despite attacks from the RSS, the Kerala unit is yet to understand the magnitude of the threat the BJP poses," he told PTI.

"We can no longer afford to keep the Congress out of the broader unity of Left and democratic forces," a senior CPI(M) leader of Tripura added.
The CPI(M)'s allies, such as the CPI, are in favour of the broader unity of secular forces, including the Congress.

West Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury, who has been a huge supporter of the Left-Congress alliance, said the CPI(M) has to act pragmatically and needs to relook at its policies before it is "too late".

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