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|March 18, 1998||
Kerala CPI-M divided over taking Congress support at CentreD Jose in Thiruvananthapuram
The Communist Party of India-Marxist, which heads the Left Democratic Front government in Kerala, is sharply divided over forging a secular front at the Centre with the Congress's active involvement.
The three-day session of the CPI-M state committee, which concluded in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, failed to arrive at a consensus about the matter.
Sources said though the state committee was unanimous in its opinion to checkmate the Bharatiya Janata Party, a powerful section was strongly against the party closing ranks with the Congress.
Senior party leaders from the northern districts expressed strong reservations against any kind of compromise with the Congress, either at the state or national level. They felt that an alliance between the two traditional rivals in the state would only lead to the growth of the BJP.
The BJP, which notched up about eight per cent votes in the election in Kerala, would emerge the second largest force in the event of any alteration in the present bi-polar political set-up, they said.
The other section argued that the policy of maintaining 'equidistance' from the Congress and the BJP would jeopardise national interests. It felt that such a policy would not only delay the formation of a secular front but also benefit the fascist BJP.
This section was of the opinion that the United Front alone was not strong enough to check the growth of communal forces. If the UF was ready to adopt a give-and-take policy, the Congress could be brought around to their stance on the economic policy. It felt the Congress would forego its rigid stand on liberalisation and globalisation under the present political circumstances.
Politburo member Ramachandran Pillai, who attended the meeting as an observer, is expected to present both the views to the politburo and the central committee shortly. He had reported the central committee discussions on the present political situation at the meeting. The anti-Congress section reportedly insisted on giving in writing their reservations about the formation of a secular front with the involvement of the Congress.
Both the sections, however, agreed to leave the final decision on the issue to the politburo and the central committee.
Political analysts feel the pro-Congress section in the state committee is likely to have its way since the central leaders are already in favour of adjustments with the Congress for a non-BJP front.
Meanwhile, the state committee is understood to have favoured the appointment of a committee to probe the complaints of anti-party activities during the election. It had received several complaints that the trade union wing had worked for the defeat of party nominees at Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Mukundapuram.
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