In a crucial decision, the CPM, by majority vote, has ruled out any understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress. In the vote held at CPM’s central committee meeting on Sunday, only 31 members voted in favour of an alliance with ‘secular parties’ while 57 people voted against it, defeating the proposal.

What was the reason for this decision? Well, it is understood that the majority of the CPM leaders felt any pact or alliance with the Congress will weaken the party in Kerala and Tripura – the CPM strongholds where the Congress is the party's prime opposition.

Rejecting an alliance with Congress leaves the CPM with two options as allies against the BJP - Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). However, the SP is in its weakest position ever, while RJD chief Lalu Prasad has been imprisoned in the fodder scam, meaning an alliance will be of no impact.

So where does that leave CPM in its fight against arch-enemy BJP? And what are they planning to do now? The Congress remains the biggest ally CPM could have had against the saffron party, but by turning them down, the party has found itself in a difficult spot. Many political analysts have slammed the move and there is a good chance the CPM would regret it in the long run.