People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 18

May 18, 2008



Who Is With Whom In The Grand Alliance’ Of West Bengal?

From Special

Correspondent, Kolkata

WHO is the ‘natural” ally of Congress in West Bengal? Bharatiya Janata Party.

However surprising it may sound, Sonia Gandhi’s party is contesting the Panchayat elections in the state in close tandem with Lal Krishna Advani’s party. They have struck seat-sharing agreement in hundreds of village panchayats, issued common campaign posters where their symbols “Hand” and “Lotus” figured as friends (see accompanying photos). The single point objective is well proclaimed: try to defeat CPI(M) and the Left.

Tall claims of fighting the communal forces fall flat in the wake of this reality where the worst kind of political bankruptcy is exposed. More ridiculous is the attempt to explain this opportunism as “a spontaneous exercise by the local level leaders”. This innovative explanation has been offered by union minister and PCC president Priyaranjan Dashmunshi. He has also said that as the Panchayats are not legislative bodies, there is no problem of any kind of political alliance.

The hypocrisy of Trinamul Congress supremo Ms Mamata Banerjee was glaringly exposed when she publicly decried any understanding with Congress while her party has entered seat sharing agreement with Congress in almost all the districts. This, clearly, could not have been done without endorsement from Ms Banerjee.

The grand alliance or the so called mahajot has all kinds of disparate forces aligned together. A section of Jamiat Ulema Hind, led by Sidikullah Choudhury, is also a partner in this alliance. For the last few months, this organisation and its political outfit, PDCI, have been openly spreading communal venom. They were party to the violence and terror in Nandigram for 11 months in 2007.

Who Is With Whom In The ‘Grand Alliance’ Of West Bengal?

The SUCI has also formally aligned with the Trinamul Congress, and in effect with all other blocks of the grand alliance. SUCI has already suffered serious erosion of their mass base, particularly in South 24 Parganas district, where they had a considerable presence. Their alliance with TMC is considered as a desperate attempt to retain their seats. This, in fact, boomeranged and hundreds of sympathizers and supporters of SUCI have shown strong resentment.

In North Bengal, secessionist forces are also part of this alliance. Forces demanding a separate “Greater Coochbehar” state are openly campaigning for Congress and Trinamool Congress in Coochbehar district. In fact, TMC is largely dependent on “Greater” support. In Jalpaiguri and adjoining areas Kamtapur Peoples’ Party is also an ally in the rightist alliance. Incidentally both these forces have joined hand with Gorkha Janamukti Morcha which is spearheading the movement for a separate “Gorkhaland” in hill areas.

The most dreadful reflection of this alliance has surfaced in western districts of West Midnapur, Purulia, Birbhum and Bankura. The anti-Left forces have aligned with Maoists here. During the campaign period, 10 CPI(M) leaders and activists were brutally killed by the Maoist gangs. In all the cases the local conduit was either Congress, TMC or Jharkhand Party leaders. The Maoists have threatened the villagers to vote for anti-Left candidates.

More importantly, Maoists activists have contested the elections as part of the alliance, in some cases as candidates of Congress or Jharkhand party. Ananda Mura, one of the main accused in the murder of CPI(M) leader Sudhir Singh Sardar, is a Congress candidate in Binpur Block2. Gopal Murmu, chief accused in the brutal murder of CPI(M) leader Anil Mahato, out on bail now, is an independent candidate with support from Congress and Jharkhand Party. Parameswar Soren, accused in multiple murder cases has been fielded by Jharkhand Party with support from other partners of the mahajot. In Kankrajhor, Dipak Bhumij, an accused in the murder of a police constable, is a Congress candidate. In Bhimarjjun panchayat, the Congress candidate Sabitri Mura is the wife of well-known Maoist leader Nityananda Mura. In Simulpal, Jharkhand Party candidate Chandana Singh is the elder sister of Maoist activist Patal Singh. The list goes on and on.

Should we say that the Maoists are also a “natural” ally of Congress in West Bengal?

Photo captions:

Mahajot: Congress.TMC,BJP symbols in wall writing in Hooghly.

Common seat sharing and symbol in Murshidabad.