Miffed over the CPI(M)’s new-found affinity for the Congress, the Revolutionary Socialist Party has threatened to quit the Left Front if the Marxist party decides to stay with the Congress.
“We have told the CPI(M) clearly that there will be no alliance, front or understanding with Congress. We are opposed to both Congress and BJP. For us both are equal,” RSP state secretary Kshiti Goswami said.
“We all had paid a heavy price by forging an alliance with Congress. If the Bengal CPI(M) decides to continue their alliance or understanding with Congress, it would be next to impossible for RSP to stay in the Left Front,” he told PTI.
The 10-party Left Front, which was in power in West Bengal between 1977 and 2011, comprises CPI(M), RSP, CPI and Forward Bloc as the other major partners.
According to senior Left Front leaders, RSP, FB and CPI had been opposed to the idea of forging an alliance with Congress ahead of the 2016 Assembly polls. It was at the insistence of a section of CPI(M) leaders, who had forayed the idea of ‘people’s alliance’, that Front partners had to give in to the demands of CPI(M).
The LF-Congress combine failed to put up a creditable performance against Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress.
In the 294-member House, LF won 32 seats with CPI(M) bagging 26, RSP 3, Forward Bloc 2 and CPI 1. In the 2011 Assembly polls in which TMC wrested power, LF had captured 62 seats including CPI(M)’s 40. The combined vote share of the Left Front was also reduced to nearly 24 per cent from 41 per cent in 2011.
“What did the Left achieve by forging an alliance with Congress? The CPI(M) compromised Left unity by forging an opportunist political alliance with Congress. And they are yet to take lessons from the humiliating defeat. We will not tolerate such big brotherly attitude in the Left Front,” Goswami said.
Forward Bloc went a step ahead, saying Left Front is not a personal property of CPI(M) and it is free to leave the Front if they want to ally with Congress.
“The Left Front is a product of mass movements. It is not a personal property of CPI(M)that we have to accept everything they say. We are partners. If CPI(M) is so keen in continuing the alliance with Congress, they should leave Left Front and form a front with Congress,” senior Forward Bloc leader Naren Chatterjee said. “In the Left Front, the CPI(M) has to abide by the decision of majority. And the decision of majority is no alliance with Congress,” Chatterjee said.
Another Left Front ally CPI said CPI(M) should take lessons from the poll debacle.
“The CPI(M) should take lessons from this debacle and understand that people have not accepted this so called ‘people’s alliance’. This has sent a wrong message to the masses,” a senior CPI leader said.
A senior Forward Bloc leader claimed that the myth of ‘people’s alliance’ was created by a section of CPI(M) leaders with the sole aim of returning to power by any means.
“People’s alliance was a myth. It was not the people’s demand. It was the demand of some of the leaders who just wanted to get back to power at any cost, even at the cost of ideology and principle. If you compromise with your ideology, your existence will be in crisis,” he said.
The CPI(M) central leadership has also rebuked the Bengal CPI(M) for forging alliance with Congress as it has flouted the official party line adopted in the last party Congress and had asked the Bengal unit to rectify it.
Recently, a senior CPI(M) leader and MLA Tanmoy Bhattacharya who joined a Congress rally on the issue of price rise, was openly cautioned by the CPI(M)’s state leadership for violating official party line.