Don’t rule out a Left prime minister just yet. If the Left succeeds in forming a non-Congress, non-BJP government, it would take a call on joining and even leading it, CPM chief Prakash Karat said on Saturday. It is keeping its options open.
“If it (the question of joining a government) arises, depending on the circumstances, the party will take a tactical decision. There is no strategic bar either way (of not joining or joining),” Karat said in an interview to Hindustan Times. But he was quick to add, “We are not staking a claim to premiership.”
Karat avoided a direct answer to a question whether the CPM would accept the post of prime minister if offered to it again, but did not rule out that possibility. In 1996, the CPM had refused to take up the post of prime minister offered to Jyoti Basu by the United Front.
Referring to the incident, Karat said, “The CPM will have to consider it afresh, not looking at past tactical decision.” Karat said the 1996 decision was based on the “tactical considerations” at that point in time. “It’s not a static decision,” he said. Recently, Basu also talked of the need for the Left to participate in any Third Front government to make it stable.
Asked whether the CPM would take up the post of prime minister if it was the only way to make a non-BJP, non-Congress government stable, Karat side-stepped the question and went off at a tangent.
“If such a government is dependent on the Congress, I don’t know what stability will be there,” he said. “What stability was there when the Congress supported the United Front from outside? But people recognise this government lasted for four years because the Left supported it. We don’t believe in destabilising governments.”
Karat hinted that a lot of political manoeuvring is yet to happen and the CPM would work out its tactics accordingly. “Tactics do not remain stationary,” he said.
“They change according to the situation. A tactical decision has to be taken at every juncture after a Parliament election.” Karat said there was no question of supporting a Congress-led government or a government that had Congress in it. “If it is a non-Congress government, however, we may have to consider (joining),” the Left leader said.
(Full interview tomorrow)