Tie-Up With Congress Didn't Work, Result Setback To Left: CPI

19/05/2016 7:52 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi (L) and veteran Communist leader and former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee talk onstage during a joint rally between Congress and the Left Front political party in Kolkata on April 27, 2016. This is the first time rivals Congress and the Left Front have come together to campaign against the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal's ongoing State assembly elections. / AFP / Dibyangshu SARKAR (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Left parties today underlined the need for a "serious introspection" in West Bengal where Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress is set to return to power even as they said that their impressive performance in Kerala was "historic" yet "expected".

The CPI and CPI(M) also noted the BJP clinched power in Assam for the first time due to "absence of strong secular and democratic" alternative and but said "it needs to be seen how the communal" saffron outfit works in the "sensitive" state.

Both the Left parties said their impressive performance in Kerala was "historic" yet "expected".

Accepting the people's verdict of returning J Jayayalalithaa's AIADMK to power in Tamil Nadu, the two Left parties alleged that money power played a crucial role the the southern states to ensure the victory for AIADMK.

Without naming any party, they referred to the decision of the Election Commission to defer polls in two Tamil Nadu constituencies following evidence of use of money power.

"We respect the verdict of the people with all the humility in Bengal. We will examine and review the results in in order to draw proper lessons from it. We though salute our comrades, who worked unitedly despite the attacks by TMC," CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters here.

Yechury observed the BJP could open its account in Kerala due to vote transfer between the saffron party and Congress.

"Similarly, in West Bengal, the BJP benefited due to its match fixing with TMC," Yechury said. He though noted the BJP's voting percentage during the polls shown decline vis-a-vis its 2014 Lok Sabha election performance.

He, however, added that the vote share of CPI(M) has remained more or less the same in the state for the party as compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

But at the same time he alleged that a reign of terror was unleashed on Left cadres in West Bengal. "There is no other go. We have to face it. Left cadres stood up to face it, to combat it. Had they not stood up, the results would have been different," he told a press conference.

Yechury claimed that 200 of Left cadres have been killed in West Bengal in the five year rule of Trinamool Congress.

"We could not reach out to the people due to this," he claimed.

Another CPI(M) leader, Prakash Karat, said the "big" win for Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala was due to the people of the state having rejected the "corrupt" United Democratic Front government.

"LDF has registered a big victory in Kerala because the people have endorsed a platform for a corruption-free government. The people have rejected the UDF government, its misrule and corruption," the former CPI(M) General Secretary said.

Karat said the party's Kerala unit will meet tomorrow and hold discussions on who will be the next chief minister of the state.

Party veteran V S Achuthanandan and politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan, both of whom have won, are in the race for the CM's post.

On asked whether the CPI(M) leaders were taken aback by the party's poor show in West Bengal, its erstwhile bastion, Yechury stated the Left party had hoped to do better and therefore the results have come across as "setback" and said reasons for the same will be reviewed.

"We are political soldiers, not astrologers. I am there in a war. In a war, you lose some battles, you win some battles. We won Kerala battle, we lost West Bengal battle," he said, when pursued by reporters on the same question.

When queried about reports that daggers are out against him within CPI(M) over the West Bengal results, Yechury said that "all the decisions were taken by the party collectively".

"... it is your (of reporters) right to interpret it in the way you want to. But the responsibility (for the defeat in West Bengal polls) will be decided during review. As far we see, these are all decisions taken by party collectively and they will be reviewed," he said.

On BJP's performance in the state, Yechury suggested the saffron party did not fare well given. He claimed, its vote percentage declined from 16.84 percent in 2014 Lok Sabha polls to 10.20 percent in the assembly polls.

"Clearly, BJP was able to win some seats ably assisted by a vote transfer between BJP and the TMC. In Kerala, it could open its account due to similar assistance from Congress-led UDF there. It would not have benefited otherwise," he added.

Yechury also thanked party cadre from the state for fighting in an united manner against the "terror unleashed" by ruling TMC during and after polls.

"Even now when we speak, there is violence being unleashed. But we are prepared to face this," he added.

In Tamil Nadu, the Parliamentarian said the People's Welfare Front (PWF), of which the CPI(M) was part of along with CPI, DMDK, MDMK, VCK and others - was "squeezed out" in the bipolar contest with the AIADMK and DMK, which he accused, used "money for votes".

"The PWF though will continue to work for interest of people in Tamil Nadu," he said. Yechury expressed satisfaction over first-time victory of a CPI(M)-supported independent candidate in the Puducherry polls.

Meanwhile, CPI national secretary too noted that the Left Front's impressive performance in Kerala was on "expected" lines, but underscored that communist parties need to do "serious introspection" about their strategy in West Bengal where TMC is set to retain power.

"I think this understanding between the Left and the Congress did not work. We could together get only 35-36 per cent of votes. Somehow, I think the votes might not have got transferred," CPI General Secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy told PTI.

He said the Assembly poll results were "negative result".

"We have to go for a serious review...why, in spite of a joint effort, it did not give confidence to the people of West Bengal to bring the alternative despite misrule, corruption and arrogance of Mamata Banerjee. We feel it's a negative result and setback to Left and West Bengal," he said.

He said the electoral understanding between the Left and Congress was a "limited understanding" with a limited purpose to defeat Mamata Banerjee, who today returned to power with a thumping majority.

"That's what we tried but it did not work," Reddy said.

However, asked if he thought it was a mistake to join hands with the Congress, he said he did not think so.

"I can't come to such a conclusion immediately. We have to discuss as to what went wrong. I am not ready to rush to a conclusion that it was a political mistake. It did not work.

Why it did not work, we have to review," Reddy said.

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