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Ready to Vote for Congress to Defeat BJP, Says Kerala Left Leader

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, CPI(M)’s state secretary, said that the party would only contest from 100-150 seats in 2019 and would join hands with other regional parties.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:March 23, 2018, 7:28 AM IST
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Ready to Vote for Congress to Defeat BJP, Says Kerala Left Leader
File photo of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. (Image: @b_kodiyeri/Twitter)
Thiruvananthapuram: A senior CPI(M) leader from Kerala has said that the party would even vote for the Congress if it would lead to a defeat for the BJP in the next general elections.

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, CPI(M)’s state secretary, said that the party would only contest from 100-150 seats in 2019 and would join hands with other regional parties.

“In all the remaining seats we will identify the candidate who can defeat the BJP and the CPI(M) will vote for such candidates. It could be the SP, the BSP or other regional parties. Even if it is the Congress, we will vote for the Congress to oust the BJP," he said at a party function in Kasargode district of Kerala.

The stand espoused by Balakrishnan is contrary to what was decided by the CPI(M)’s central committee at an internal election held in January. It was decided that CPI(M) would not join hands with the Congress to take on the BJP in any forthcoming election, including the 2019 general elections.

The Bengal faction led by general secretary Sitaram Yechury had been trumped by the Kerala faction, led by his predecessor Prakash Karat. The draft resolution adopted in January still has to be formally adopted by the CPI(M)’s party congress, which is scheduled to take place in Hyderabad in April.

The Left’s crushing defeat in its bastion Tripura earlier this month had reopened the debate, with a large section hoping that there could be an understanding in view of the changing political realities.

Balakrishnan’s statement, therefore, could be a sign of the shifting stand on the subject. Politburo member and senior leader MA Baby echoed the state secretary’s stance.

“Our line is to fight BJP communalism by the left and democratic forces, in absence of which we plan to identify non-Congress secular regional forces. If in any constituency only a Congress candidate has the possibility to fight and defeat the BJP or its allies, we won't hesitate to vote even for the Congress," he said.

Although the BJP has historically had a marginal presence in Kerala, it has ramped up its efforts take on the Left. Party chief Amit Shah has made trips and held rallies to drum up support in the southern state that has traditionally oscillated between the Left and the Congress.

BJP leaders seemed unperturbed by Balakrishnan’s statement, stating that Left should start the tie-up from Kerala itself if it so fancied. “CPI(M) should start the alliances in places where they have chances of getting some votes. Let them start in Kerala itself. All these won't make any change to the ground realities," he said.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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