Discontent has started brewing in the CPI(M) over the party high command's decision to support Yashwant Sinha's candidature as the unanimous opposition candidate for the Presidential polls. The anger over the candidature of Sinha, who resigned as the Trinamool Congress's national vice- president to contest the Presidential polls, is especially acute in the Bengal brigade of the CPI(M), for whom the Trinamool Congress is still the foremost political rival in the state.
The discontent was ignited by a comment from the CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, the party's sole Parliamentary representative from West Bengal, to a section of the media.
He said that in a hurry to ensure a unanimous opposition candidate, a wrong choice was made. "It is true that our party wanted unity among all opposition parties. But all I can say right now is that the choice of candidate has not been right," he said.
Echoing Bhattacharya, a central committee member of the party told IANS on condition of anonymity that both from the ideological point of view as well as the candidate's credibility, Yashwant Sinha was a wrong choice at least from their party's point of view.
"Sinha had served as Union finance minister and external affairs minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet. He has just taken off his coat as the Trinamool Congress' national vice president for the time being to contest the Presidential polls. From the numerical perspective, Sinha's defeat is a foregone conclusion. I am sure that he will again assume the chair of Trinamool Congress' national vice president after his defeat. In such a situation, our party could have kept a distance from the Presidential poll process. Many of us have already started facing questions from our younger comrades on whether this is not a surrender to the arm-twisting tactics of the Trinamool Congress even though it is quite certain that the opposition is fighting a lost battle," he said.
He pointed out that in 2002, despite knowing that they are fighting a lost battle against NDA's Presidential candidate APJ Abdul Kalam, the Left parties fielded Captain Lakshmi Sehgal of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose-founded INA fame. "At present, we are not in a position to field our own candidate or pitch someone really of our choice. But at least we could have distanced ourselves from supporting a candidate who had enjoyed stints with both the BJP and the Trinamool Congress," he added.
Several CPI(M) activists and supporters have reacted on social media questioning the party's decision to support Sinha's candidature.