In the April-May West Bengal assembly elections, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s key campaign catchphrase was “BJmool”, an attempt to convey to the voters that the BJP and Trinamool Congress were two sides of the same coin. That may have been a bad choice, the party now admits.
“This time, some slogans have created confusion,” says a CPI(M) party note in Bengali. “In the party programme, it was understood that the BJP cannot be placed in the same bracket with any other party because it is guided by fascist RSS theories. During the election, it was seen that the BJP and TMC were kept in the same category. The use of the ‘BJmool’ slogan and also mentioning that they are two sides of the same coin has created confusion…The 2019 Lok Sabha election has clearly proved that there is no secret understanding between the two parties.”
The party note says that the Left attacking the BJP and TMC equally went in favour of Trinamool. West Bengal’s ruling party returned to power in the tumultuous eight-phase polls with a thumping majority while the Bharatiya Janata Party emerged a distant second, and the Left and Congress were wiped out.
Political analysts say the CPI(M)’s “realisation” indicates that the possibility of the Left and TMC working together in a bid to defeat the BJP in the 2024 general elections cannot be ruled out.
Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee told the media during her Delhi visit last week, “It’s high time that they (the Left) make up their minds about who is a greater enemy, the TMC or BJP.”
The CPI(M) note also mentions that Trinamool was successful in countering the anti-incumbency factor with outreach programmes like ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ and ‘Duare Sarkar’.
Reacting to the development, BJP leader Jay Prakash Majumdar told News18, “The present CPI(M) has proved to be a confused lot. They are suffering from old dogmas, lack of connection with reality and political goals. That is the reason why they are changing their political stands so often, at times contradicting their earlier stand. The present issue of endorsing TMC is nothing but an opportunistic move to get some oxygen from the ruling party.”
TMC general secretary Kunal Ghosh told News18 that this was a late realisation of the CPI(M).
Following the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s victory in the 2020 Bihar elections, Left leader Dipankar Bhattacharya had suggested that the saffron party should be combatted by a united opposition. Analysts say he had not received much support at the time from his communist colleagues but the CPI(M) note indicates a rethink.