The Communist Party of India-Marxist appears all set to deliver a blow to the 28-party I.N.D.I.A. bloc by going solo in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal and Kerala.
However, the party is not likely to make any public announcement over the decision any time soon, said sources. The Left party’s politburo is said to have arrived at a decision not to enter into any seat adjustment with any party from the bloc in the two states, a decision which may provoke other bloc constituents to break away from the alliance in some states.
Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury had earlier cast aspersions over the efficacy of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc at the national level. He said the grouping could only be seen as a medium for state-level seat adjustment.
During the recent CPM politburo meeting, the Kerala unit of the CPM raised the issue of fighting Lok Sabha elections without any seat arrangement with the I.N.D.I.A. bloc. The CPM and the Congress, which are constituents of the bloc, lead two rival political fronts in the southern state.
Sources said the CPM, which is a key player in the Left Democratic Front in Kerala, does not want to confuse the voters in the state by tying up with the Congress, which is the face of the United Democratic Front in Kerala, in the Lok Sabha elections.
Sources said there are indications that the CPM is not likely to immediately make public its decision not to contest the parliamentary elections in coordination with the Opposition bloc.
Even after the crucial decision of contesting the general elections solo was taken at the politburo meeting, party office bearers preferred not to tell media persons about it. Party leaders issued a statement after the meeting that the CPM stands strongly with the I.N.D.I.A. grouping and is committed to strengthen it.
In West Bengal, the CPM has decided to stay away from the Congress and the ruling Trinamool Congress in the parliamentary elections. In the last Assembly elections in the state, the Left party had entered into seat adjustment with the Congress, but the pact failed to deliver significant electoral gains to the CPM.
The emerging cracks in the bloc in West Bengal and Kerala come close to similar signs of concern for the bloc in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where one of the constituents of the grouping, Aam Aadmi Party, has started announcing candidates for the Assembly elections without waiting to seek the views of other parties in the bloc constituted for the Lok Sabha elections.
For the Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, a tussle seems to be on within the Opposition bloc. Almost all parties, including the RJD, JD(U), the Left and the Congress are vying for a large chunk out of the 40 parliamentary seats.
The CPM’s decision to contest the LS elections independently comes close to discomfort being faced by coalition partners over the “eradicate Sanatan Dharma” call given by DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin. Some I.N.D.I.A. constituents appear to be making concerted efforts to assert their faith in Sanatan Dharma in a bid to impress their supporters who might have been offended by the controversial remarks. Though leaders of these parties have not yet gone to the extent of threatening to leave the alliance, they have condemned the DMK leader’s remark.
The AAP, the Trinamool Congress and the Congress, at least in Madhya Pradesh, seem to be veering toward the conclusion that the DMK is unlikely to tone down its assertions on the emotive issue due to its compulsions of state politics and belief in Periyar’s Self-Respect Movement. This alleged lack of sensitivity of the DMK is believed to have caused a simmering discontent among these parties