The Third Front need not name its prime ministerial candidate before the Lok Sabha elections because the country does not follow a presidential system as to who should be the leader, the CPI-M has said.
With several possible prime ministerial contenders emerging in the fledgling alliance of Left and regional parties, CPI-M also said no party is barred from making their own "legitimate efforts" to project their leader as prime minister. It, however, said no party can "dictate" to the others as to who should be the prime minister.
"Ours is not a presidential system, a referendum or who should be the leader. The prime minister is one among the equals and in a coalition, particularly when we have a coalition government, I think it depends on the views of the parties," CPI-M chief Prakash Karat told NDTV when asked whether the Third Front was shying away from projecting a leader for the Lok Sabha elections.
"All coalition partners in the Third Front have their own ideas that their leader should be the prime minister. But it is a matter to be decided after the elections. I think that is the position taken by all the parties which have joined together (in Third Front)," Karat said.
The CPI-M leader said he does not envisage the possibility of him becoming the prime minister in the event of the Left joining any Government after the Lok Sabha polls.
Karat also said there is no bitterness with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh though they parted ways after the Left withdrew support to the UPA government, describing his relationship as "political and not a personal one".
"I don't envisage such a possibility. But I am not intending to give up the post of general secretary of CPI-M," the CPI-M general secretary said when asked whether he saw himself becoming the prime minister that could make him the first communist leader to head a government at the Centre.
"I am the general secretary of the party and I have not even fought the parliament election. I don't think I will fight an election in the future as long as I am the general secretary of the party. A party's general secretary is not in Parliament," he said.
On the issue of the CPI-M joining any government, the 62-year-old silver-haired marxist said the party has to first take a decision. "We will cross the bridge after that."
Asked about the prospects of a UPA-led by Congress regaining power with Left support to keep the BJP-led NDA out of power, Karat said, "We are working to ensure there will be no such government. Infact, our main thrust in our election campaign is to see that the Congress is defeated. So we hope we succeed and we have a non-Congress secular government."
Asked about his personal relationship with the prime minister, Karat said there are no personal ties, only a political relationship.
"It is a normal relationship we have. It is not as people say since we parted company, there has been bitterness or conflict. Nothing of that sort," said Karat, who was the protagonist of the Left's battle against the Indo-US nuclear deal that led to its withdrawal of support to the UPA government after he crossed swords with Manmohan Singh.