The CPI (M) may consider joining the Third Front government at the Centre in case the political formation comes to power after the ongoing 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The largest communist party of the country and a pivotal force in the non-Congress, non-BJP club, the CPI(M) had always rejected opportunities in the past to be a part of the Union cabinet.
Speaking to senior editors of Hindustan Times as part of the ‘Unplugged at HT’ series, CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat Saturday said, “We are open about it (being a part of the government). We are certainly not ruling this out before the vote. We will discuss (the option).”
Karat, however, added that the possibility of a Third Front government will depend on the electoral fate of parties led by “Nitish Kumar (JD- U), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Naveen Patanik (BJD), and others”.
While pointing out that a strong anti-Congress sentiment prevails across the states, Karat refused to accept that BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has reinvented himself. “These talks of reinvention are only a tactical move to project him. The biggest apprehension is that the BJP and RSS are banking on Hindutva and communal agenda. In Varanasi and other parts of UP, their entire election strategy is based on communal polarisation,” he said.
According to Karat, BJP’s decision to send party general secretary Amit Shah as Uttar Pradesh in-charge almost six months before Modi’s name was announced as PM candidate was also a part of this communal ploy. “Modi’s vitriolic criticism of Pakistan is actually aimed at sending signals to a section of the voters,” he alleged.
While BJP had sharpened its attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi over the UPA’s “dual power centre”, Karat defended the mechanism, saying, “The criticism about the dual power centre is largely overplayed.”
Karat had closely seen the functioning of the Congress-led coalition, as a part of the UPA-Left coordination committee during the initial years of the Manmohan Singh government. “The dual power centre worked well, harmoniously, at least in UPA 1. In parliamentary democratic system, Prime Minister cannot be an executive president in governance. And finally, on a key issue like Indo-US nuclear deal, the party stood behind the PM,” he said.
A candid Karat accepted that his main challenge is to improve the party’s performance in West Bengal, where the CPI (M)-led government was thrown out of power after a 34-year rule.
He announced that in the next few years, 60% of party secretaries in various units would be replaced in favour of a younger look, but said that his organisational concern is that the party is not growing in areas where the CPI (M) is weak.