Strange bedfellows

Politics makes for strange bedfellows, but the forthcoming West Bengal assembly polls are pushing the boundaries of that truism


Politics makes for strange bedfellows, but the forthcoming West Bengal assembly polls are pushing the boundaries of that truism. Next week is likely to see a decision by the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on a possible electoral tie-up in the state. If they team up—or even come to an understanding without a formal alliance—it will lead to a strange situation.

Rivalries and alliances are transient indeed in Indian politics, but Congress and communist cadres in West Bengal have a history of violence stretching over three decades.

More importantly, it will put party members in Kerala in an awkward situation, since the two are fierce rivals there; they have made their displeasure at the prospect of a Bengal alliance clear. If the two parties do come to an understanding, they could overtake the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad alliance as the most thorough political volte-face in recent times.