NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, which had taken a tough stand on alliances, is looking to consolidate anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) votes in some states for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, the move could lead to the party contesting fewer seats than it did during the 2014 general elections.
The CPM is not in alliance with the Congress nationally, but has decided to campaign against the BJP in constituencies where there is a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP.
The party said there will be “no mutual contest" between it and the Congress in six seats in West Bengal that were won by the two parties in 2014.
The Congress had won four and the CPM two of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, in the 2014 general elections.
The decision not to contest against the Congress in these seats was taken at the two-day meeting of the CPM’s central committee, the highest decision-making body of the party, which ended on Monday. The meeting was held to discuss the party’s strategy for the Lok Sabha elections.
“To achieve what we had said, we will adopt electoral tactics to maximize the pooling of anti-BJP votes. This cannot be done at a national level before elections. State-wise understandings need to take place. Wherever there is a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress, except one or two seats where we have a base, our aim is to defeat the BJP," CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said at a press conference.
In 2014, too, the CPM had a tacit understanding with the Congress in West Bengal, though it had ruled out a formal alliance with the party.
“Our electoral tactic will be to maximize anti-BJP, (anti-) Trinamool Congress votes. The central committee has decided that in the six seats won by the CPM and the Congress there will be no mutual contest. We do not want to disturb that...A triangular fight in Bengal will be better than a quadruple fight," Yechury said. A decision on the remaining seats will be taken at a Left Front meeting on 8 March.
Yechury said the decision not to contest in seats where the Congress is putting up a candidate was accepted with an ‘overwhelming majority’.