CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat on Wednesday ruled out any electoral pact with the Congress, accusing the former ally and the BJP of “suitably shifting” their position on key issues depending on whether they were in power or the opposition. Speaking at a session of HT Unplugged, Karat admitted the CPM’s shrinking youth support “was a matter of concern” but blamed it on “the shift to a market-oriented culture”.
“The Left's stand is consistent. The BJP and the Congress switch sides when they come to power… Earlier, the Congress defended itself on corruption charges while the BJP protested against the UPA government. Now, BJP is doing its best to protect its tainted ministers,” she said.
Citing the deadlock over the Goods and Services Tax bill as an example, Karat said when the Congress-led UPA tried to push the bill, the BJP opposed it. “Now, when BJP is trying to pass it, Congress is not ready to support it.”
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Mocking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “suit-boot ki sarkar” jibe at the Modi government, Karat said, “When the Congress was in power, its economic policies were aimed at helping the suit-bootwalas which is the corporate sector. And now it talks about the need for a kurta-pajama ki sarkar.”
Blaming the ongoing Patel community agitation in the Prime Minister’s home state Gujarat on unemployment, Karat also took on the government for a recent agreement between yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurveda and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to manufacture and market the latter’s herbal supplements and food products, terming it the NDA government’s “worst kind of crony capitalism”.
Admitting that the Left parties’ shrinking youth support was a “matter of concern”, Karat said the erosion was an urban phenomenon and the party’s support base had increased in rural areas. “The urban landscape is changing. We have to look at the trends and see which new sections of urban India are emerging.” She said the six Left parties will contest next year’s West Bengal assembly elections together.