NEW DELHI: The two ‘ideologically’ rival parties CPI(M) and BJP have reportedly joined hands to defeat TMC in the upcoming panchayat election in West Bengal’s Nadia district. CPI(M) Nadia district secretary and state committee member Sumit De agreed that there have been adjustments at the grassroots level in many seats as several villagers were in favour of a one-to-one fight.

Yesterday Surjya Kanta Mishra, state secretary of CPI(M), held a press meet and stated, “We have been giving slogans like TMC hatao Bangla bachao, BJP hatao Desh bachao (Remove TMC to save Bengal, Remove BJP to save the Nation). If anyone from CPI(M) found associated with BJP, we will expel him from the party.”

Earlier a central committee member of CPI(M), Sujan Chakraborty, said, “It is true that in a few pockets, our people are joining hands. We are trying to talk to them and make them understand. But this is because of the unprecedented violence and reign of terror by the ruling party. In seats where we do not have candidates, we are supporting independents. Overall, the BJP and Trinamool are playing a game in Bengal, creating space for each other.”

BJP’s north Nadia unit president Mahadeb Sarkar said that it was a one-off incident. “In some seats where we could not field candidates, our workers at the grassroots level have extended support to independent candidates,” he said. “In most cases, these independent candidates are actually CPI(M) workers.”

Sitaram Yechury took to the Twitter to say, “Motivated rumours, canards and lies are being spread by TMC which has a deal with BJP on communal polarisation and on saving its corrupt. Biman Bose has denied any understanding with the BJP and we stand firm in our opposition to both TMC and BJP.”

Prosenjit Bose who had left CPI(M) criticizing their anti-people policies a few years back, said, “The BJP has been gaining ground in Bengal at the cost of the CPI(M) for some time now. TMC’s terror tactics in panchayat polls is catalysing that trend.” Bose is the president of Young Bengal, a youth socio-political platform based in Kolkata.

Students’ leaders have also reacted with a concern and criticized this move.

“The violence erupted during the nomination process of Panchayat polls this year is unmatched to anything. The Trinamool Congress is trying to win the elections with their money, muscle and administrative power. The opposition had to file nominations through email and whatsapp, which is unprecedented. Even in this situation, a CPM-BJP electoral coalition is unprincipled, least to say. The party congress of CPIM concluded only in last month had adopted a resolution to fight the BJP-RSS to the end. In ground, they are doing just the opposite. Actually, the party has lost all its credibility among people for the anti-people policies taken by the Left Front government in their last ten years of rule and now without taking up the painstaking job of course correction, they have indulged into forming coalitions with Bourgeoisie parties like Congress to return to the state power. The coalition with BJP is product of such opportunist political line and it shows how the party has become like just another unethical immoral political organization. This will give more oxygen to BJP and will ensure their rise in state politics further.” said Deborshi Chakraborty, a student leader in jadavpur University.

CPI(M) affiliated Students’ Federation of India leader Bihanga Dut said that “BJP is trying to gain mileage by publicizing such alliances. Students’ movements against central governments’ anti education policies are not going to be affected by this alleged alliance.”

As per a report published in Indian Express, the alliance is not restricted to just CPI(M) and BJP but even Congress is a participant to this league. The report showed wall graffiti in Nadia district asking votes for the alliance.

The cases of violence during nomination filing for panchayat election is reported by many news agencies. The use of muscle power by the ruling party and disruptions caused to restrict any opposition candidates have been acknowledged by Calcutta High Court. The court ordered the state election commission to extend the date of nomination filing and accept nominations even through WhatsApp and e-mails. State Election Commission later moved to Supreme Court challenging this order.

West Bengal’s panchayat polls were originally scheduled to be held on May 1, 3 and 5, before Opposition parties approached the Calcutta High Court alleging violence by the Trinamool. Following directions from the court, SEC extended the last date of nominations by a day to April 23 and rescheduled the polls to be held in a single phase on May 14.

Official figures show that 20,076 of the 58,692 seats, or 34.2 per cent, have already gone to the Trinamool because it was the only party to put up candidates there.

(Image sources: Indian Express)