CPM rethink hint on Cong
Calcutta: The need for a "straight fight" against the saffron camp appears to be gaining acceptance in the CPM despite its central committee ruling out a "pre-poll alliance with the Congress" in a draft political resolution.
Politburo member Mohammad Salim - who apparently supported the so-called Prakash Karat line of "no truck with the Congress" at January central committee meeting where the resolution was backed by a majority - dropped hints on Wednesday of a gradual shift under way since the Left party's rout in Tripura last week.
"Now the political situation in the country is such that there has to be a straight fight," Salim said at a news conference here, three days after CPM general secretary appealed to his Bengal comrades to reconsider the no-Congress line.
Although Salim was mum on the Congress, the stress on a "straight fight" was seen as a hint of a rethink on the draft resolution approved by the central committee, the CPM's highest policy-making body.
Although a final decision will only be taken at the CPM congress next month through amendments to the resolution, party sources said what looked like an impossibility even a week ago seemed "feasible" after Tripura's loss to the BJP.
On Wednesday, Salim repeatedly stressed the need for a "one-on-one battle" against the BJP, which the sources said was a reflection of the discussions taking place during the CPM's state conference that will end on Thursday.
"Despite full efforts in the name of Hindutva, the BJP only commands a third of the country's total vote share, even less...That's why they would be happy if there is a three-pronged contest," said Salim, adding that a third front meant nothing in today's context.
The need for a direct fight against the BJP is gaining ground among the Opposition. Sonia Gandhi has invited Opposition leaders to a dinner next week.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been working the phone lines over the past few days to bring various regional Opposition parties together.
Salim, however, accused Mamata of trying to create a third front and playing into the BJP's hands.
A source close to Mamata rejected the claim. "This is nothing but the CPM's illusion as it wants to claim the pole position in the anti-BJP fight. The strategy may be counter-productive to the cause of a one-on-one fight as Mamata has repeated several times that flexibility is the need of the hour against the common enemy," said the source.