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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.