GUWAHATI, Nov 13 - Left Front constituent Communist Party of India (CPI) has sought a consolidation of �anti-BJP� forces in Assam ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections. It believes that the Congress, as the largest opposition party, should take the initiative on this.
CPI, however, is not keen on having a seat-sharing arrangement with �non-Left� parties during next year�s Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) polls in the State and will instead prefer to contest on its own from �maximum number of wards� in the municipalities and town committees.
CPI Assam State committee secretary Munin Mahanta told this newspaper that the party�s aim is to prevent division of anti-BJP votes.
�Our party�s existing political line is that we want unity of all Left, democratic and secular forces. The current situation in India makes it imperative that all efforts should be made to defeat the �right wing� forces. Removal of the BJP from power in Dispur is a part of that. However, the matter of alliance or seat-sharing does not rest with the CPI or other smaller parties. Major parties like the Congress have to take the initiative and if they (Congress) do so, we are ready to explore the possibility,� he said.
It is noteworthy that the Congress contested the recent Maharashtra elections in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and some other smaller groups. The Congress has also formed a pre-poll alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for the forthcoming Assembly polls in Jharkhand.
Mahanta added that the CPI has not yet formally discussed seat-sharing or alliance within its forum.
�Our National Executive meeting is scheduled to be held on December 7-8 in Hyderabad. We will raise the 2021 Assembly polls in the State at the meeting. Our belief is that if we can agree with any other party on policy matters like secularism, preservation of constitutional rights and on the need to fight for the democratic system and plurality, then we should have no problem going along with such a force,� he said.
Mahanta added that the CPI�s first priority is to seek consolidation of all Left parties, including the CPI(M) and the CPI(ML) Liberation.
When pointed out that former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has called for a tie-up between the Congress and other anti-BJP parties, including the Left, Mahanta said, �Gogoi may have said so. But he alone does not represent the Congress party. The State unit or the central leadership of Congress should make such an announcement. Then we can consider the matter seriously.�
He added that if the Congress is really interested on forming an anti-BJP alliance in Assam then the grand old party should hold talks with CPI and other groups.
�Congress can hold bilateral talks with us for exchange of views. It can undertake a similar exercise with the CPI(M) and other parties. That could be a beginning,� Mahanta said.
The veteran Left leader claimed that his party had made �sacrifices� in the past for the sake of defeating the BJP.
�We did not field out own candidate from Nagaon constituency during this year�s Lok Sabha polls, despite the fact that we have a big support base there. We wanted to prevent a split in anti-BJP votes. The Congress party could win from the Nagaon seat due to consolidation of opposition votes,� he added.
Mahanta, however, made it clear that CPI will not have a seat-sharing arrangement with any non-Left party for next year�s ULB polls in the State.
�The elections to town committees and municipalities offer the best chance to any party to strengthen and expand its base at the grassroots in urban areas. So we will try to field our own candidates in maximum number of wards in the ULBs. Off course, as far as other Left parties are concerned, we will try to have a seat-sharing arrangement with them. But not with non-Left forces,� the CPI leader said.