Kerala CM Oommen Chandy ready to campaign in West Bengal for Cong-CPI(M)

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy (left) during a meeting in New Delhi
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday said he has no qualms in campaigning in West Bengal in support of candidates of Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M), who are poll rivals in Kerala, in the wake of its tie-up with the Congress in the eastern state.

Chandy fully justified the decision of the central leadership of the Congress and CPI-M to go in for a tie-up to take on Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in West Bengal, saying "Congress has taken a practical approach".

When talks of a possible Congress-CPI(M) tie-up in West Bengal had started, Kerala CPI(M) had opposed it, but "we told the central leadership that they can take a decision", Chandy told PTI in an interview here.

Read more from our special coverage on "WEST BENGAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS"

"You see, in a country like India, at a time when BJP has become a threat and is in power at the Centre, it is not possible for parties to have the same approach in all states," he said, adding that this has also been recognised by the CPI-M leadership.

Chandy was replying to a question on whether the tie up would have an adverse impact in Kerala in the May 16 Assembly polls.

"Congress does not believe that the party will be destroyed in Kerala if it join hands with CPI-M in West Bengal," Chandy said.

"Congress has a policy. We are confident that we will be able to convince the people on it," Chandy said.

The central leadership of both parties thought that a tie-up was needed to take on TMC and BJP in West Bengal.

"When the leadership moved with that idea, we did not oppose it. That is the practical approach to be adopted there," Chandy said.

However, CPI-M's Kerala leaders were afraid of that decision and thought that the party would be "destroyed" in the state, Chandy said, taking a dig at CPI-M in the state.

"What can happen in Kerala when Congress joins hands with CPI-M in West Bengal? At the maximum, leaders from Kerala will not go for campaign in West Bengal," he said.

"But if the party leadership asks me to go for campaign in West Bengal, I will go there," Chandy said.

The chief minister said that they (Congress) had no fears over the alliance and that he did not think that the people of Kerala would reject Congress party and himself if he campaigns in West Bengal.

"I do not think the people of Kerala will reject Congress and me if I campaign in West Bengal as part of the policy of the party," Chandy said.

The main electoral battle in Kerala for May 16 poll is between CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front and ruling Congress headed United Democratic Front.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also taken a swipe at the tie-up and had said she would campaign in Kerala to "expose" the Congress-CPI(M) alleged double standards.

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