The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Politburo leaves door ajar for pact with Cong

Calcutta, June 6: The CPM will fight the Assembly elections in five states in November without seeking support from or an alliance with the Congress but if the party approaches the Marxists, chances are that the response will be positive.

The party politburo, which met here this afternoon, decided not to “knock on the door of the Congress” in any of the five states. “The Congress will have to decide their political strategy. They have to find out political parties with whom they will go for poll alliance,” politburo member Sitaram Yechuri said at the party headquarters, when asked whether the CPM will forge an alliance with the Congress before the Assembly elections.

Though the CPM is almost determined not to seek Congress support in fighting the elections, it is undecided on its response if the Congress seeks a seat-share deal or offers a pre-poll alliance “to defeat the BJP”.

It is learnt that the CPM is eager to keep options open for a patch-up knowing its organisational shortfall in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram.

Sources in the party said it will “consider” any move by the Congress to defeat the BJP. The CPM will not seek help from the Congress on its own. A section of the party feels, in case the Congress approaches the CPM for an alliance, the party will respond positively.

The role of the Congress during the recent Assembly election in Tripura was discussed this afternoon. Several leaders opposed any move to forge an alliance with the Congress. Referring to the role played by the party in Tripura, they said the Congress had connived with separatist forces led by Bijoy Rankhale to defeat the CPM.

Many in the CPM have reservations about a pact with the Congress as they feel it will tarnish the party’s “secular image”. The Congress is not communal but there are elements in the party who compromise with communal forces, a section of the CPM leadership said.

“The Congress is the most politically-opportunist party and we have to be very careful while forging any alliance with them,” said a senior CPM leader.

The party’s central committee, which will meet for three days from tomorrow, is likely to take up the issue.

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