Kolkata, Nov 21 (PTI) Asserting that the BJP should be identified as 'political enemy number one', CPI (ML) Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya on Saturday said that the TMC and the saffron party shouldn't be clubbed in the same bracket, and the Left and the Congress should first deal with the 'bigger threat' in West Bengal.
Noting that the CPI (M) lacks the 'anti-BJP thrust' needed to counter the 'divisive force' in West Bengal, Bhattacharya, however, said the Congress should not be allowed to be in the driver's seat in the alliance between these two parties in the state, as that way the Left party won't have much to gain.
He claimed that countering the saffron surge is currently the biggest challenge in the country, and called upon all democratic and secular forces to treat the BJP as the 'principal political enemy' during the West Bengal elections due in April-May next year.
'Unlike Bihar, where we have the same government both at the state and the Centre, West Bengal has a different situation with the TMC at its helm. The track record of the TMC is not very good, and we have to oppose it, too.
'But I would clearly state that the TMC and the BJP can't be put in the same bracket. The BJP should be identified as the principal political enemy in West Bengal,' Bhattacharya told PTI in an interview.
Even if a state has a non-BJP government, which is mired in allegations of misrule and corruption against it, people need to oppose the saffron camp, he insisted.
'The prime focus should be on the BJP. The saffron party is a bigger threat,' he said, pointing out that the CPI (ML) Liberation had fought against the RJD as well as the saffron camp, when the Lalu Prasad-led party was in power in Bihar.
Asked about the theory floated by some CPI (M) leaders, stressing on the need to defeat the TMC first, Bhattacharya said it's an impractical proposition.
'If you go by this theory that to counter the BJP, the TMC has to be defeated first, then there is no need to oppose the central government for now. One has to wait for the BJP to come to power in all the states and then start opposing it.
It's an impractical proposition.
'A BJP government in West Bengal will be a bigger threat for the Left and the entire democratic set-up,' he said.
Bhattacharya said the political situation in West Bengal shouldn't be treated in isolation.
'There is no party in India, which has been more dangerous than the BJP. There has never been a darker phase in the history of Indian democracy,' he said.
The leader of the communist party slammed its ideological comrade, the CPI (M), for not being able to put up a formidable fight against the BJP in the state.
'The anti-BJP thrust on the part of the CPI (M) is missing. There is a need for Left resurgence in West Bengal, and there is a need for struggle and mass movement. The CPI (M) has failed to live up to the expectations,' he said.
Speaking about the Left-Congress alliance in West Bengal, Bhattacharya said the grand old party has benefited more from the arrangement.
'The CPI (M), using its tactical wisdom, allied with the Congress. But the results have shown that Congress has benefited more. The CPI (M) should revive its base. The BJP is growing at the Left's expense in West Bengal,' he said.
Taking a cue from poll results in Bihar, where the Congress, as a partner of the Grand Alliance fared poorly, Bhattacharya said, 'The party shouldn't be in the driver's seat in the two-party alliance in West Bengal.
'The Congress is trying to dominate the Left-Congress alliance like a big brother. This is the most unfortunate thing in West Bengal, where the Left Front was in power a decade ago,' he said.
The veteran leader replied in negative about a possibility of any understanding between the CPI (ML) Liberation and the TMC in West Bengal, and also contended that it would be 'too early to comment' whether the party would be part of the CPI(M)-Congress alliance in the state.
Bhattacharya hoped that the Congress will learn its lessons from the just-concluded polls in Bihar, where it managed to win only 19 of the 70 seats it contested, and adopt a more realistic approach during the seat-sharing process in West Bengal.
'The Congress was a big let-down for the Grand Alliance in Bihar. The seat-sharing arrangement should have been a more realistic one. The success rate of the Congress is the lowest. I am sure the party, too, would be reviewing its performance,' he said.
Speaking about the Bihar poll results, he said the elections were more about people's rallying cry against the economic and the divisive politics of the BJP.
The Left parties -- the CPI (ML) Liberation, the CPI (M), and the CPI -- bagged 16 seats out of the 29 seats they contested in the Bihar polls, as part of the Grand Alliance.
The CPI (ML) Liberation alone clinched 12 seats. PTI PNT RMS ACD ACD