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Mamata made Bengal fertile for BJP: Karat

New Delhi, May 3: CPM general secretary Prakash Karat claimed Mamata Banerjee had “created conditions” for the “growth of communal politics” in Bengal that was fetching “increasing support” for the BJP.

In an interaction with some journalists today, Karat was asked what he thought of the BJP’s prospects in Bengal in the ongoing elections and if there was indeed a pro-Narendra Modi wave.

He said: “The only time the BJP did well (in Bengal) was in 1999. It got two MPs and polled 12 per cent votes. But it was in alliance with the Trinamul Congress. I hope history does not repeat itself. Right now, there’s no alliance with the Trinamul Congress. But the BJP is finding increasing support under the Trinamul Congress. It is creating conditions for communal politics.”

Asked if he foresaw the possibility of Trinamul joining a BJP-led NDA or working out some sort of an arrangement with the coalition in the near future, Karat replied: “We have to wait and see. She (Mamata) had no hesitation in going with the BJP earlier. In elections, a lot of rhetoric is exchanged against parties but we will have to see what stand the Trinamul Congress takes after an election.”

When it was pointed out that Mamata might not risk being seen on the BJP’s side before the next Assembly elections because of the importance of the minority vote, Karat said: “There’s still two years or so before the next election. I cannot put it beyond Mamata Banerjee to join a BJP government, quit the government before the polls and say, look I have quit.”

In his opening remarks, Karat said after seven rounds of polling, it was clear that this election was “highly charged”.

“In Uttar Pradesh, this election has been a communally charged election. There is a clear design. There is a lot of propaganda about Modi’s campaign being focused entirely on governance and development. But beneath the veneer of that campaign lies a systematic communal campaign.

“The RSS is very much in the field with its cadre. Leaflets containing incendiary propaganda are in circulation under different names. Modi’s speeches in West Bengal urged for throwing out Bangladeshis after May 16 (the day of counting) in a state where Muslim population is above 25 per cent. In Bihar, Modi spoke of the Pink Revolution. This communal propaganda bodes ill for the country after the elections.”

Asked if the Left Front could evolve a working relationship with a possible Modi-led BJP dispensation at the Centre, just like Harkishen Singh Surjeet and A.B. Bardhan had worked out a functional equation with the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Karat’s answer was: “Atalji was a swayamsevak. Modi is a pracharak.”

In the RSS’s lexicon, a swayamsevak is one who becomes a Sangh member from the day he attends a shakha (or camp) but is not expected to devote his life to the organisation or be bound by its disciplinary norms. A pracharak is a whole-timer who is mandated to sever family ties, remain a celibate and scrupulously adhere to the Sangh’s dos and don’ts.

The CPM general secretary was asked if he had read Manmohan Singh’s former media adviser Sanjaya Baru’s book, The Accidental Prime Minister, that has given extensive accounts of the Left-UPA relations through the turbulent nuclear deal era.

Karat said he had read it and gave his take on it. “From what I gather, the people who have been mentioned in the book, all of them say this is not what we have done. It is a highly subjective, self-serving and one-sided account. Baru didn’t know many things. Our experience in UPA I was that the Congress stood with the PM on the nuclear deal when it came to the crunch.”