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It's advantage BJP in UP: Left - The Economic Times

Political Bureau ()
February 2, 1998

Title: It's advantage BJP in UP: Left
Author: Political Bureau
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: February 2, 1998

A pall of gloom has settled over the Left following the complete
breakdown of seat adjustment between United Front (UF)
constituents in Uttar Pradesh with Communist leaders admitting
that its 'advantage BJP' in the crucial state.

Alongside unhappiness, there is bitterness, both against the
'main wrecker' Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and the unsuccessful
'arbiter' and CPI(M) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet.

"We certainly have not put ourselves in a strong position because
of the lack of vision of Mr Yadav, " said a Left leader, adding
that the UF has a 'fight of its life' in Uttar Pradesh, thanks to
the fact that 'they are going to be 28 mutual contests among UF
constituents in UP

The CPI, which wanted initially to fight just in three seats, is
fighting six and being opposed by SP candidates in all.

Not surprisingly, the CPI is directing its anger at both Mr Yadav
as well as fellow comrade Mr Surjeet.

"I hope Mr Surjeet is happy with the one set that the SP has
given the CPI(M)," said a CPI senior leader sarcastically. The
CPI(M) is only fighting the Varanasi seat.

The perception is that with the UF in disarray in UP, there is
little going for the Front in the electorally crucial state.

Sources in the CPI and CPI(M) say that the BSP and Congress(I)
are fighting individually in all the 85 seats in the state, which
means that there will be a division of the secular vote.

The sources add that on top of that, 'there is no ruling out'
that Ms Gandhi ability to cut away some Muslim votes from the
Samajwadi Party.

And to compound the woes of the UF, the JD and the CPI are taking
on the SP in more than two dozen constituencies. "Though the CPI
and the JD might have a small base in the state, every little
percentage of votes counts. Mr Yadav might learn this the hard
way this time around, " said a top Left leader. But more than the
breakdown of the UF alliance, it is the fallout of the collapse
which is worrying the Left.

The Communists say that with the 'secular' forces taking each
other on in every single constancy, the BJP may perform 'quite
well' in the state. And, for the Left, a strong BJP showing in
Uttar Pradesh will help the 'communal' party consolidate its
position nation-wide, something the Left will find very hard to

At a more personal level, Mr Surrogate's reputation as the UFO's
'man about town' has taking a serious knock with the CPI(M) chief
failing to deliver on UP, despite trying for a month to work out
an arrangement. The JD and, to an extent the CPI, did not see him
as honest arbiter as the he was perceived as close to Mr Yadav.

But, ironically, another aspect that can be discerned from the
shambles of the UF in UP is that the CPI(M)'s much-vaunted
influence over the SP has came to nought when it was really

Even CPI(M) leaders have been expressing exasperation with Mr
Yadav's 'lack of vision' in the last few days and hinting that he
was more keen on increasing his party's percentage of votes in a
number of states than coordinating with other UF allies to fight
the BJP seriously.

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