The Telegraph
Sunday , May 9 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Left remembers: BJP is enemy

Calcutta, May 8: The Left Front today decided to attack the BJP in its civic campaign while also gunning for Trinamul and the Congress, appa-rently to pre-empt any Muslim backlash over the Left-BJP bonhomie in Parliament.

Front leaders indicated the slight change of tack days after releasing a manifesto that did not even mention the BJP or the RSS.

“This is the first time the BJP has fielded so many candidates. It may try for communal polarisation by a divisive campaign. We have to be extra careful,” CPM secretary Biman Bose said after a Left Front meeting this morning.

The BJP has fielded 624 candidates across the state for the May 30 polls. In the 141-ward Calcutta civic body, the party has as many as 91 candidates, though its current tally is only 3. In the 80 other civic bodies, it now has 17 councillors.

The CPM central committee’s just-concluded deliberations have underlined the party’s need to refurbish its ideological sheen. Echoing the committee, which had yesterday demanded action against “extremist Hindutva forces”, Bose today referred to the probe into the blasts in Ajmer Sharif, Malegaon and Hyderabad. “It is now proved that Hindu fundamentalists were behind those acts of terror, though initially minority community members had been blamed,” he said.

Days earlier, asked about the absence of criticism of the BJP-RSS in the manifesto, Bose had said: “This is meant for the civic polls in Bengal, not Jharkhand. The BJP is not a major force here.”

The BJP continues to be a marginal player in Bengal, but Bose’s focus today indicated the CPM’s efforts to distance itself from the BJP amid efforts to win back Muslim voters.

From protests against price rise and support for the women’s quota to walking out over compensation for victims of nuclear accidents, the Left and the BJP have been seen working together in Parliament on several issues. Front leaders here are obviously worried about its electoral impact.

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