New Delhi, Oct. 3: The Left appears to have nipped Mamata Banerjee’s grand designs for a federal front, using the more powerful glue of communalism to array regional forces against Narendra Modi.
A “mega convention” the communists have planned this month is scheduled to be attended by Bihar, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh chief ministers.
The October 30 event is being meticulously planned by senior CPM and CPI leaders with the stated aim of bringing into national focus the renewed threat of communalism.
Sources said Sharad Yadav, the chief of JD(U), and Samajwadi Party boss Mulayam Singh Yadav suggested to the Left leaders that the convention should be mounted on a big scale rather than be held as a “mere seminar-like event” that the duo felt would yield little political gain.
Initially planned at a Delhi auditorium, Mavalankar Hall, the venue has now been shifted to the much larger Talkatora Stadium after the JD(U) and the Samajwadis promised to bring big crowds.
But not all regional leaders appear to be welcome. They include Telugu Desam chief Chandrababu Naidu, who has become a strict no-no for the Left after his apparent hobnobbing with Modi, and Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, who is also being aggressively pursued by the BJP.
Another leader who does not figure on the list of invitees is Mayawati. CPM general secretary Prakash Karat had burnt his figures before the 2009 general election by shaking hands with the BSP chief and going to the extent of projecting her as a possible prime ministerial candidate.
But the presence of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik is expected to be a big trophy for the Left to show Mamata.
The Bengal chief minister had previously tried to forge an axis with the leaders on the plank of a federal front.
Although it is early to conclude if this convention will lead to the formation of another such front, it suggests that the Left could compete with Mamata for the same space in next year’s post-poll scenario.