CPM enjoys ally ache

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By OUR BUREAU in Calcutta
  • Published 7.03.08

Calcutta, March 7: The humiliation of a sworn enemy is sweet but the ignominy of an insolent friend is sweeter.

The CPM today cakewalked to power in Tripura for the fourth successive term as expected but ally Forward Bloc, which fought the election on its own, drew a blank.

The Bloc’s decision to contest separately in the northeastern state and a threat to do so in the May panchayat poll in Bengal had transformed the Tripura election into something of a “laboratory case” in Left Front politics.

The Bloc had put up candidates in 12 seats in Tripura after the CPM refused to add another seat to the ally’s tally of one. But all 12 Bloc candidates lost their deposits — the debacle standing out against the front’s brute total of 49 in the 60-member House.

The CPM’s other two allies in Tripura — the RSP and the CPI — that stayed with the big brother retained their seats.

The Bengal CPM did not hide its glee. “Our allies must understand that they will suffer the most if they try to weaken us,’’ said a CPM state secretariat member.

However, unlike in Tripura where a squabble over a single seat led to the rift, in Bengal, the Bloc has been citing bigger issues like land acquisition to nettle the CPM.

Bloc state secretariat member Naren Chatterjee conceded that his party could not muster more than 300 to 600 votes in the 12 seats. But he claimed that the party was instrumental in the CPM’s defeat in two constituencies.

Bloc veteran Ashok Ghosh ruled out any change in the party’s stand on the panchayat polls in Bengal. But the Tripura “experiment” seems to have sown seeds of divisions in the Bloc-led “mini-front” in Bengal. “The Tripura results show that the Left Front’s alternative is the Left Front alone,’’ said Manju Mazumdar, the state secretary of the CPI that sometimes makes sympathetic noises towards the “mini-front”.