The Communist Party of India (Marxist) boss, Prakash Karat, has reportedly said that he could consider becoming prime minister under "inevitable circumstances". He said this while speaking to reporters in Tirupati on Wednesday.
This is in marked contrast to the "Karat line" that prevented Jyoti Basu from becoming prime minister in 1996. The argument against the Left parties joining the government then was that they were in no position to influence policy changes in a Leftist direction.
What has changed now for this new line to emerge? The Left’s performance in the polls is expected to be poor compared with 2004. How poor electoral performance can translate into policy strength is baffling.
The calculation is that politics is turning Left and this presents a chance to turn policies in a Left direction.
As always, it has misread the situation. Indians are not looking for "pro-people" policies, but for quality jobs and higher income. But the Communist parties refuse to see that reality.