In remarks not likely to go down well with its ally BJP, Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav on Sunday praised the Left parties for their “pro-people stand” during the past five years.
Reacting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comments criticising the Left for lacking “far sightedness” in its approach, Yadav said: “Had it not been for the Left, the economic policies of the Congress would have ruined the country.”
Yadav, the acting convenor of the NDA, said the Left parties had been consistent in their stand on the nuclear deal and other major issues, “and they were forced to withdraw support”.
“Whatever little pro-people’s measures the UPA government took, were due to the pressure of the Left parties. They played a key role in the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGA),” he said.
Yadav said the UPA government could not move forward with “blind disinvestments”, due to the strong opposition from the Left.
Asked whether the JD(U) had opened any communication channels with the Left, in case of a hung Parliament, Yadav replied: “We have friends in the Left and we talk to them, but presently we are with the NDA.”
Yadav’s surprising comments come at a time when his party is being increasingly viewed as uncomfortable in the BJP’s company. His colleague and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has not ruled out “possible realignments” in the post-poll scenario.
Nitish has gone to the extent of saying during the election campaign that minorities, particularly the Muslims, have no problem with his party, but they are apprehensive about its ally. The comments were viewed as an apparent reference to the BJP.
On a tour of Rajasthan, where the JD(U) is not supporting the BJP, Yadav said the saffron party leaders were spreading confusion on the issue of the prime ministerial candidate.
“We have declared our support to L.K. Advani for the post, why are other names being spread,” he asked. “BJP leaders should not try to create a controversy on this issue, as we are not ready to support any other name presently,” Yadav said.
The JD(U) leader strongly attacked former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhra Raje for her “anti people” measures. “She promoted land grabbing in the state and her government was anti-poor. It was for this reason that the people threw her out of power,” Yadav said.
He termed the previous BJP government as “arrogant, which did not have time for the people of the state,” he said.