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Left twins divided in vote

New Delhi, Feb. 18: Left twins CPM and CPI were on opposite sides of the Telangana divide in the Lok Sabha today.

While the CPM members waved placards and raised slogans against the division of Andhra Pradesh, their CPI comrades sat quietly in support of Telangana.

For a change, the CPM and its Bengal rival Trinamul found themselves on the same page, opposing the division, more vociferously than even MPs from Seemandhra.

Members of both the parties were in the well of the House raising slogans against the bifurcation.

Left sources, however, sought to play down the CPM’s and the CPI’s divergent stands, saying while the bigger party has always been opposed to the division of Andhra, the other has favoured it.

“The CPM has always been opposed to Telangana. Division of states created on linguistic basis will weaken the federal structure,” party leader in the Lok Sabha Basudeb Acharia said.

The party’s anti-Telangana stand has been consistent. While its first general secretary, P. Sundarayya, had launched a “Vishala Andhra” movement in the sixties, a note the party submitted in 2005 said the formation of linguistic states was the “bedrock” of the country’s federal structure.

“The states thus formed have developed and contributed to the federal polity and the democratic political system. Dividing these states into smaller states will weaken the federal principle,” said the note submitted before a committee formed by the government to seek the views of political parties on Telangana.

The CPI, however, favours the creation of Telangana. “We supported and now welcome the creation of a Telangana state because the region has been deprived in every respect,” CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy, who hails from the Telangana region, said.

But the party, which had supported the creation of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh, is not ideologically in favour of smaller states. “We are against Gorkhaland because it would be unviable. It is too small,” Reddy said.

While the CPM has been opposed to Telangana, party members had never protested in the well, at least not recently. Today, CPM MPs stood in the well for over one-and-a-half hours when the Telangana bill was being passed, waving placards that read “Save Andhra Pradesh”, “We demand undivided Andhra Pradesh” and “We oppose bifurcation”.

So strong was the protest that the Andhra MPs came across as mild in comparison. After some time, the Andhra MPs were seen repeating the slogans raised by the CPM members.

Trinamul joined the CPM in the well for some time and shouted slogans. Trinamul MP Sougata Roy said the division would lead to more such demands and a “civil war-like” situation in the country.