‘Third front’ parties will be open to outside support from the Congress — like in 1996 — to form the government after the 2014 elections but his party will not help the BJP or the Congress to come to power, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat has said.
In an exclusive interview to the Hindustan Times, Karat said the Left parties were looking at poll tie-ups with some regional parties such as the Samajwadi Party, Biju Janata Dal, Janata Dal (Secular) and AIADMK, who, too, wanted a non-BJP, non-Congress government after the next elections.
“We need to have a credible policy alternative to rally together all secular and democratic parties. We are working for that,” he said.
These parties have been positioning themselves as the third alternative, claiming voters want a non-Congress and a non-BJP government.
“The Left and the Congress have shared an on-off relationship. As part of the Left Front, the CPM was a partner in the UPA 1 but walked out of the ruling alliance over the civil nuclear deal with the US. The Congress in 1996 supported a 13-party coalition, largely stitched together by the CPM, at the Centre.
When asked if the so-called third front parties would have enough numbers for a government without the Congress or the BJP, Karat was quick to point to 1996.
“There is the experience of the United Front (UF) government in 1996 (which was supported by the Congress)… We have already made it very clear that we will not support either the BJP or the Congress,” he said. If the Congress were to suffer major electoral losses in 2014 -- like it did in 1996-- the scenario would be repeated. “What we made clear is that we will not support a Congress government,” he said, implying that outside support from the Congress would be welcome.
After a fractured verdict in 1996, the BJP, which emerged as the largest party, was invited to form the government but it only lasted 13 days. With the CPM playing a pivotal role, HD Deve Gowda-led 13-party UF government came to power with outside support of the Congress. The government though lasted only two years.
With the RSS backing Narendra Modi, it was evident that the BJP was playing Hindutva politics “as suspected and expected” and all the talk about the “Gujarat growth model” was now over, Karat said.