Ahead of Kerala, Bengal polls, Congress woos CPI-M

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 28 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist should stop its blind opposition to the Congress and help strengthen secular forces against BJP’s Hindutva agenda, V.M. Sudheeran, Kerala’s Congress unit chief, said on Monday.

“The BJP is going forward with its Hindutva agenda. It’s the Congress party that has always kept the secular flag flying high and hence none can go forward by sidelining the Congress party,” Sudheeran said at the Congress’s 131st foundation day celebrations here.

He said the ongoing CPI-M party plenum at Kolkata would not result in anything positive unless the communists responded to “the need of the hour” and decide to stop opposing the Congress party blindly.

Both Kerala and West Bengal are due for assembly elections next year and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appears to be gaining ground in both states.

In Kerala local body elections earlier this year, BJP improved its tally in village, block and district panchayats, as well as municipalities and corporations. In village panchayats, for instance, BJP won 933 seats — up from 450 in 2010.

Sudheeran said the BJP agenda was going to come-a-cropper in Kerala where power has for decades alternated between the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF).

His comment comes at a time when in West Bengal, until a few years ago an impregnable communist stronghold, both CPI-M and the Congress are having a tough time with the ruling Trinamool Congress on a strong wicket and the BJP making inroads there.

As the four-day CPI-M plenum started in Kolkata on Sunday, General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said strengthening the party organisation had become all the more important “given the concerted attack by rightwing reactionary elements against the CPI-M, particularly in our stronghold of West Bengal”.

Addressing the CPI-M in particular, Sudheeran said no party could sideline the Congress party in going forward with a secular agenda.

Since the Narendra Modi government assumed office in Delhi, the UDF and LDF see BJP as a potential threat in Kerala politics.

The BJP, however, has yet to open its account in the 140-member Kerala assembly.

With assembly polls round the corner and a new Kerala BJP president in RSS strongman Kummanam Rajasekharan in office, the rival fronts have started to come down heavily on what they see as BJP’s strategy to play the Hindu card.

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