Hyderabad: The CPI and CPI(M), traditional Left allies in the country, have chosen separate paths for the coming assembly elections in Telangana. The CPI is part of the broad-based alliance of opposition Congress, TDP and Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS), which was formed to defeat the ruling TRS, while the CPI(M) will contest under the umbrella of the Bahujan Left Front (BLF).
The BLF comprises 28 small parties, though many of them may not contest the state polls. The BLF's agenda is social justice and alternative policies to strengthen education, health and other sectors in the government, CPI(M) state secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram told PTI Wednesday.
CPI(M) had one MLA in the recently-dissolved 119-member Telangana Legislative Assembly.
The party is likely to contest 20 to 23 assembly segments, he said. The Left parties have traditionally been strong in Khammam, Warangal and Nalgonda districts of Telangana.
Veerabhadram said the BLF promises to keep health and education completely in the government sector. Distribution of land and housing for poor are also part of the agenda.
The BLF also promises to open 'Bahujana Bhojana Canteens' (subsidised canteens for the poor) in rural areas. "To ensure political representation of backward communities, BLF promises to give 60 seats (among the 119) to backward classes," Veerabhadram said.
The BLF also announced that a leader belonging to backward classes would be made chief minister if the coalition comes to power, he said.
When asked if CPI(M) and CPI choosing different paths would hurt Left unity in the long run, the CPI(M) state secretary claimed it was the CPI which chose to go separately. "It was their decision to join the Congress. Right from the beginning, we did not have the political policy to join Congress. We have been asking CPI and Kodandaram (of TJS) to join the Left parties. We are still asking them," he said.
The stated objective of the alliance of Congress, TDP, CPI and TJS is to defeat the TRS and such exercises have been done in the past, either to defeat Congress or the TDP, he observed.
Veerabhadram said the objective to safeguard the Communist movement was missing in efforts to unseat the ruling party in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh in recent decades, and now in Telangana. This has weakened the Left, prompting his party to take an independent line now, he added.