CPI(M) leader Surjya Kanta Mishra has said an “extraordinary and Emergency-like situation in West Bengal and the people’s desire” have forced his party to join hands with Congress to oust TMC from power but it has not been decided who will be the chief minister if the combine comes to power after the assembly election.
“We will cross the bridge when we come to it. We are not discussing this issue at all now. Our main fight is for restoration of democracy in the state,” Mishra told PTI when asked who will be the chief minister if the combine comes to power.
On whether the two parties have formulated the common minimum programme, Mishra, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly replied in the negative.
Defending his party’s electoral pact with Congress, whose many policies and programme it had opposed, Mishra, also a CPI(M) Politburo member, said, “It is an extraordinary situation. There is undeclared emergency in the state. It is mainly an attack on democracy and secular credentials that led to the formation of a broad platform of Left secular and democratic forces in the state.
“There is no hide and seek. I had given a call at a public meeting asking Congress to clear their stand on whether they are ready to oust this government or not. Our stand, as I said, is to oust TMC and save Bengal, oust BJP and save India.
“Subsequently WBPCC had taken a stand which we think is consistent with our stand. We want to ensure that the division of secular, democratic and Left votes do not help the TMC win”, Mishra, the CPI(M) State Secretary said.
Asked where is the guarantee that Congress will not go back to TMC’s side deserting the Left, he said, “Whatever we do is judged by the people. Any betrayal will not go unpunished by the people.
“The people wanted us to join hands. We have to respond to the desire of the people. That is what we are trying to do”, he said, adding, “It is the people’s front.”
On the impasse on certain seats with Congress, Mishra said, “Talks with all the parties are over. We have made our stand clear to everybody. I think barring four-five seats, candidates have been declared.”
On Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s sarcastic remark that they have formed a “rainbow alliance”, Mishra said, “She is nervous. It was TMC which had formed a rainbow coalition in the 2011 assembly election but none of those parties is with them now and all of them have approached us.
Of the 294 seats in the state assembly, the CPI(M)-led Left Front has announced candidates for 209 seats. Congress, on the other hand, has decided to fight in 94 seats and it has already announced names of 85 candidates.
Mishra said restoration of democracy, fight for livelihood, protecting the secular fabric of the state and worsening law and order would be their main poll planks.
He said his party will make the sting operation against TMC leaders a poll issue.
“It is a very important issue. We have requested the Election Commission to intervene and see that proper action is taken and culprits are booked. We are yet to get any response from the EC,” Mishra said.
He said the party has complained to the EC about the role of unaccounted money and how it vitiates the poll process.
On whether CPI(M) and Congress were sure about transfer of votes, Mishra said, “It is possible. It is people’s perception and desire to see the opposition united and the government is ousted.
“People wanted the broad mobilisation of Left, secular and democratic forces. This is a change that has taken place in last six months. I think Left had an important contribution in this development as we have taken up a series of mass movements,” he said.
The transfer of votes had taken place in 1977, not only in Bengal but all over the country and the situation here is no less than Emergency, he added.