The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM meet on polls

Calcutta, Nov. 12: The CPM will discuss its stand vis-à-vis the Congress for the coming Assembly elections to the five states on December 1 at a three-day politburo and central committee meeting beginning tomorrow at its Alimuddin Street headquarters.

“We shall discuss the issue threadbare in tomorrow’s politburo meeting. I strongly feel that the party should back the Congress in the five states to ensure the BJP’s defeat,” Jyoti Basu said today.

The former chief minister said he would also discuss the matter with party general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet when he called on him tonight. “We do differentiate between the Congress and the BJP. The Congress is a secular party and we must extend support to it to keep the Sangh parivar at bay,” Basu said.

However, CPM sources said the party’s possible support to the Congress in Andhra Pradesh is expected to be debated in the three-day deliberations. The CPM leadership appears to be in a dilemma in Andhra Pradesh on whether to join hands with the Congress if chief minister Chandrababu Naidu decides to go for an early Assembly election. The Congress is the main opposition party in Andhra Pradesh where the Telegu Desam, a BJP ally, is in power.

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