The CPI(M) leadership is holding discussion with allies of the Congress at the national level to work out a Left secular alternative, CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu said on Tuesday on the sidelines of his party's state committee meeting.
Significantly, Basu's statement came a day after general secretary Prakash Karat told delegates at the Kerala state conference in Kottayam that the Congress would have to seek fresh mandate from the people if it wanted to go ahead with strategic partnership with the US. CPI(M) sources here said Karat mentioned that his party was in favour of forming an alternative coalition — commonly referred to as the third front since the United Front government came to power in 1996 — only to contest elections but to promote a real alternative to Rightist parties promoting open market economy and globalisation. In public, however, Karat has been maintaining over the past two months that the UPA government will complete its full term.
Basu indicated on Monday that the process is on. "Karat is talking to allies of the Congress. However there is no possibility of forming a third front immediately," he said.
This is not the first time that CPI(M) leaders, including Basu, have talked about third front. The matter even came up for discussion at the party's last central committee and politburo meetings held in Kolkata last year. But that was the time when the CPI(M) was opposing the 123 Agreement in totality. Since then the Left parties have revised their stand significantly and allowed the UPA government to go ahead with the talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency.