Buddhadeb hints at supporting Congress post poll
West Bengal’s ex C.M Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has let slip an open secret much to the discontent and dismay of his party comrades. In an interview to a news agency, he has acknowledged that left front is open to aligning with Congress if the need so arises post poll.
Buddhadeb in the interview said that they are trying desperately to stop communal BJP from coming to power. He even equated Modi to Hitler. Also he stridently voiced his objection to the economic policies of the Congress. But he confessed if the need be, they have to give support to Congress lead UPA to keep the communal forces out of power.
It’s not that the Left parties haven’t earlier allied with congress. In 2004, when UPA came within striking distance of power belying exit poll projections it was the Left which propped up the government with outside support. The usual bogey of communalism was used to justify the stance. Then party general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet was claimed to be instrumental in forging this understanding with Congress. A common minimum programme was worked out and the government worked according to it. The Left parted with much acrimony after heartburn from Indo-US nuclear deal.
Karat, the hardliner
The scenario has changed considerably from then. In 2005 Surjeet was succeeded by Prakash Karat, a hard line party ideologue. He started the policy of equidistance from both the major national parties. Subsequently party congresses including the last one at Kozhikode have ratified this stance. Also in Bengal, Left has been usurped by TMC led by Mamata Banerjee. Didi has not only hijacked left’s agenda but is also trying to get their place in country’s political arena. In Bengal, she has repeatedly spoken about alleged collusion of Left and Congress. Ex C.M though has rejected didi’s political overtures for federal front as non-starter. But his candid confession though refreshing (coming from a politician) can only put his party in further trouble. Anti TMC votes may get shifted to BJP or Congress.
Karat has been desperately trying to cobble up a non-congress non BJP alternative third front. Initially he could get around 11 parties together. But any possible talks of pre poll alliances have come up cropper after Amma gave left the cold shoulder. Thus the party as of now is looking to increase their tally. Ideally it means hardening of stance against the major national parties. For this reason Buddhababu’s volte face has embarrassed the party so much. Both Sitaram Yechury and Brinda karat declined to comment in the matter. The Left allies are though expectedly not that charitable. Khsiti Goswami of RSP has openly expressed his dismay at Buddhadeb’s opinion.
Internal power struggle?
There is a view that Buddhadeb has very intentionally called the bluff on Karat’s third front ideas. The Bengal lobby has always been at loggerheads with the bosses in Delhi. Bengal left leaders still think Karat did a big miscalculation in 2008. Indo-US nuclear deal was hardly an issue worth withdrawing support. The supporters couldn’t be convinced about the move and TMC could stitch up an alliance with Congress. All though this stand has been summarily rejected by politburo yet state leaders refuse to budge. This along with the way Buddhadeb’s economic policy was junked by karat and co must have not gone down well with him. Interestingly, Budha’s predecessor Jyoti Basu openly criticised parties’ veto of not letting him be the P.M in 1996 branding it as a historical mistake. Thus Buddhadeb outing CPM’s open secret may very well be a part of party’s internal power struggle. Now it is up for other leaders to do the damage control and give a P.R spin…..