CPI(M) West Bengal secretary says the RSS was the first to shower praises on Mamata Banerjee and she called its cadres patriots.
Surjya Kanta Mishra, West Bengal secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), says the BJP and the Trinamool Congress need each other and feed off each other, in the context of a recent comment by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that all those in the BJP and the RSS are not bad.
What are crucial issues this election in the country, particularly in West Bengal?
This is by far the most crucial election that India has witnessed after Independence. Everything that the preamble of the Constitution refers to — ‘socialist’, ‘secular’, ‘democratic’ and ‘republic’ — is under attack. Moreover, the election is taking place at a time when there is a rise of the Right across the globe, and communal and divisive forces are trying to throttle the voice of the Left, secular and democratic forces.
In West Bengal, we are seeing a mutually built competitive communalisation by the Trinamool and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP and the Trinamool need each other and they feed off each other. The RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] was the first to shower praises on her [Ms. Banerjee] and she, in turn, called them patriots. The RSS link runs very deep for the Trinamool. Our party mouthpiece [Ganashakti] have come up with a story, recently, on how key members of the committee managing the polls for the Trinamool have RSS links..
In West Bengal, the election is being perceived as a contest between the BJP and the Trinamool…
This is a manufactured binary that is being promoted by a section of the media. We are very much on the ground and fighting elections. The Brigade [Parade Ground] rally called by Left parties in the State is a vindication of our support base. Long before any other party realised the dangers of the BJP government, we had given a call to oust them, and for the maximisation of votes against the BJP and Trinamool. The BJP and the Trinamool are natural allies.
Are you referring to the comment by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that everyone is not bad in the BJP and the RSS?
It is much more than that. The BJP and the Trinamool need each other and they feed off each other. The RSS was the first to shower praises on her [Ms. Banerjee] and she, in turn, called them patriots. The RSS link runs very deep for the Trinamool. Our party mouthpiece [Ganashakti] have come up with a story, recently, on how key members of the committee managing the polls for the Trinamool have RSS links.
I have been saying that despite all this tall talk [by the Trinamool], the party is the Trojan horse among the Opposition parties and will not hesitate to join the BJP after the polls. They [the Trinamool] have kept all options open, can give outside support to the BJP, join the government, or seek support from the BJP.
Do you think that the Saradha scam and the Narada videos are not been adequately highlighted in the election campaign by the Opposition parties?
We have been highlighting these scams, but what is most amusing is that the BJP is claiming it will bring the guilty in the Saradha and Naradha scams to book after the polls. The Ethics Committee of Parliament did not meet once in five years.
Had they met, the MPs who took cash on camera could have been disqualified. The Central agencies were sitting ducks for five years and on the day the Left parties had organised the massive Brigade rally, they went to arrest the Kolkata Police Commissioner. The BJP is using these scams as a tool of political bargain with the Trinamool Congress.
The Left parties, including the CPI(M), have suffered erosion of their support base…
The Left parties have suffered systematic attacks in the State, not from 2011 but much before. Hundreds and thousands of our supporters have been killed and every year, we have to update our list of martyrs.
More than 1,600 of our party offices have been razed to the ground or occupied. No other party would have been able to resist such attacks for such a period of time. The other way to look [at this] is that our support base has been distilled and strengthened with the most dedicated supporters on our side.
The CM has been urging the Left supporters to vote for her party. Do you think there can be tactical voting to defeat the Trinamool?
We are confident that Left supporters, after going through so much, will continue to stand with the party. If we get any information that our party workers are voting or supporting other parties, we can assure action. But can the Trinamool promise similar action against those in the party that help the BJP? What action have they taken against their own leaders organising Ram Navami processions?
Some candidates of Left parties are trying innovative means of campaigning, including reaching marginalised sections of society such as the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities…
I can say with confidence that the Left candidates are the best. The TMC has given tickets to those involved in the scams, and those that have taken money on camera; and the BJP has candidates that have defected from the TMC. Wherever I go during the campaign, I keep referring that we have the best candidates, with a clean image and track record, representing different sections of society, among all the political parties in the contest.
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