CPI-M members to speak up on allying with Congress

Agartala, Feb 12 (IANS) Should the CPI-M ally with the Congress in West Bengal assembly polls? All CPI-M politburo and central committee members will give their views on the subject, a party leader said on Friday.

“All members of the PB (politburo) and CC (central committee) will convey their personal opinion,” Bijan Dhar, a central committee member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, told reporters here.

The two policy making bodies of the CPI-M are scheduled to meet next week in New Delhi — the politburo on February 16 and the central committee on February 17-18. The former has 16 members and the latter 101.

“The PB and CC will also finalize the electoral strategies of the CPI-M in the (coming) Bengal elections,” said Dhar, who is also the secretary of the CPI-M Tripura state committee.

He said the 21st Party Congress of the CPI-M held in Vishakapatnam in April last year decided to maintain equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress.

But it also decided that the party can form electoral alliances with “secular, democratic and pro-people” parties to fight “communal, undemocratic and anti-people parties”, Dhar said.

Meanwhile, a two-day West Bengal CPI-M state committee meeting began in Kolkata on Friday to finalise a stand on a possible alliance with tne Congress in the state to take on the ruling Trinamool Congress.

CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, his predecessor Prakash Karat and politburo member Brinda Karat attended the crucial meeting.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on Thursday night left for Kolkata.

The term of the 294-member West Bengal assembly ends on May 29.

Last week, a majority of West Bengal Congress leaders conveyed to their party vice president Rahul Gandhi their desire to ally with the CPI-M in the coming assembly polls.

The Tripura Congress, however, opposed the move.

“If the Congress allied with the CPI-M, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) will get the electoral benefit both in West Bengal and Tripura,” Tripura Congress spokesman Tapas Dey said.

“We have communicated our decision to the party high command.”

Media reports quoting CPI-M politburo member S.R. Pillai said most leaders of the CPI-M in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh were opposed to allying with the Congress.

But CPI-M leaders in West Bengal, including former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as well as Surjya Kanta Mishra and Mohammad Salim, have asked the Congress to side with the Left.

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