CPI-M will make Third Front workable: Biman Bose (Interview)

Kolkata, April 29 (Inditop) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) will use its rich experience of running a Left Front government in West Bengal to make the Third Front a success if it wins the Lok Sabha elections, says the party’s politburo member Biman Bose.

He accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of encouraging “divisive and fissiparous” forces by aligning with the pro-Gorkhaland Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) in the Darjeeling constituency in the northern part of the state.

Secretary of the CPI-M’s powerful West Bengal unit, Bose told IANS in an interview: “The Third Front, the way the Left parties have initiated it, is not just a conglomeration of different parties.”

He said to make a Third Front government workable, “there will be a Common Minimum Programme which will be accepted by all the constituents.

“I am hopeful this is possible. We have the experience in West Bengal where nine parties have been running the state government for more than 30 years. We consider the Left Front as less than a party and more than a front.

“If we can apply this practice in forming the Third Front and can move accordingly, we can set up a sustainable government at the centre.”

Bose underlined that the Left started coalition politics long before other political parties in India. The Left Front government led by the CPI-M came to power in West Bengal in 1977 and has won successive elections.

He dismissed as “meaningless” Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s comment that the Third Front was born out of some of its leaders’ ambition to become prime minister. “She should remember that in any case the prime minister has to be elected.”

Asked if West Bengal Chief Minister Buddahdeb Bhattacharjee could be one of the candidates for prime ministership, he called the question hypothetical.

Bose came down heavily on the BJP decision to field heavyweight Jaswant Singh from Darjeeling with the support of the GJM.

“The way the BJP has shown sympathy for the GJM and its Gorkhaland demand in its election manifesto, that will help the divisive and fissiparous forces to divide West Bengal.

“The BJP is playing a dangerous game with the GJM. This will definitely break the unity and amity of the people in the hills and plains of Darjeeling,” Bose contended.

Bose discounted speculation that the Congress-Trinamool combine could end up with a much greater share of seats than in the previous elections five years ago.

In 2004, the Left Front bagged 35 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, while the Congress and the Trinamool got six and one respectively.

“This combination cannot gain more seats since electoral results do not depend on arithmetic calculation,” he said.

He also disagreed with the view that the Congress-Trinamool combine was severely denting the Left Front’s traditional rural base.

“It’s a fact that in last year’s panchayat (rural bodies) polls, the Left lost seats. But still we got more than 52 percent of the votes.”

He contended that the Left Front suffered reverses in the panchayat elections because of disunity in its ranks, leading to the partners fighting each other in more than 10,000 seats. He claimed that the differences had been ironed out this time.

Criticising the Congress, the fulcrum of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Bose said: “It is now becoming a victim of rightist forces. Their policies are not meant for the common people. Rather, they are aimed to benefit the wealthy sections.”

He said it was a pity the 123-year-old Congress was fighting the elections in West Bengal as the junior partner of Trinamool, its breakaway group.

On Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee’s call that it was battle for “mother, land and people”, Bose said: “Their so-called ‘mother, land and people’ battle is not covering 543 constituencies across India. It is concentrated only in the 42 seats from the state.”