ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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50 Years of EPW : Open Congress-BJP Alliance

Vol XXVIII, Nos 27 & 28 JUly 3-10, 1993

First Published in 1966

To mark 50 years of EPW, each week in 2016 will ­present an extract from our archives.

WEST BENGAL

Open Congress-BJP Alliance

Ajit Roy writes:

There are some elements of ambiguity in the outcome of the state-wide panchayat polls along with the elections to 16 urban municipalities held in West Bengal on May 30. The victory of the CPI(M) and its Left Front allies is decisive, but this is accompanied by some evil features with grave portents. ...

... it was for the first time in West Bengal that the Congress(l) and the BJP joined hands in an electoral battle openly and without a smokescreen, as they did in some localities. One of the BJP national leaders, S S Bhandari, publicly exposed this liaison (deliberately, it seems, in order to embarrass the Congress(I) elsewhere) and the fact was later corroborated by some Congress(I) leaders. This joining of forces of the Congress(l) and the BJP has an ominous significance beyond the immediate electoral calculus.Through this open, even if limited linkage, the BJP, in the supposedly left-oriented state of West Bengal, has been able to overcome the inhibition of a segment of liberal nationalists to align openly with ‘Hindu nationalists’, forgetful of its overall impact on national interests in general. It has, to say the least, made the BJP somewhat respectable in some circles beyond its direct ideological reach.

This new turn was carried forward when the Congress and the BJP objectively acted together in organising a statewide bandh, a week after the polls, on June 7 to register their protest against CPI(M) violence during and after the polls. That the bandh was a success was confirmed by the secretary of the CPl(M)’s West Bengal state committee who is also the chairman of the Left Front. ...

All this, further compounded by the arrogance of some of its accredited spokespersons in their public comments, has not enhanced the CPI(M)’s credibility and acceptability as the central fulcrum of an alternative left and democratic mobilisation against the visibly bankrupt Congress(l).

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