The CPM wants a non-Congress, non-BJP political alternative, and is working on it, said party general secretary Prakash Karat on Sunday.
“We do not want a situation where there is a Congress-led alliance or BJP-led alternative and that is why we are trying for a third alternative. Neither do we agree with the policies pursued by these two parties,” Karat said. He said the Left parties, particularly the CPM, have the responsibility for initiating the process.
He also spelt out the parameters for the third alternative: it would have to be anti-communal, must be able to agree with the Left on economic policies, give more emphasis on social sector and pursue an independent foreign policy.
It would not be reduced to a mere electoral alliance but be for alternative policies," Karat said, adding that the party would continue to have electoral adjustments and alliances wherever required.
The CPM general secretary also released the draft political resolution, which would be discussed threadbare within the party in the next two months, before it is adopted at the party Congress in Coimbatore in March.
Indicating the Left’s displeasure with the UPA’s economic polices, Karat said: “Many parties have come to power with our support but after coming to power, they have followed the previous government’s policies. This time, we are working on the areas where we (the Left and non-Congress and non-BJP parties) could have a common platform. We are discussing with parties what could be the issues.”
The Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam Party and Asom Gana Parishad were seeking cooperation with the Left in this regard, Karat said. He, however, categorically said the CPM would not enter into an alliance with AIADMK, which had tied up with the BJP.
Karat said the CPM “differentiates between the BJP and Congress, considering the latter as a secular bourgeois party though it often vacillates when communal forces take the offensive”.
On the India-US nuclear deal, currently being negotiated with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Karat repeated the Left’s opposition. “Let the negotiations with IAEA be over and (the conclusion) come to the committee. It is not going beyond that anywhere now,” he said. “Let it rest where it is now.”
The draft resolution noted that the Left parties were firm in their opposition to the deal and had decided to do whatever is necessary to block the agreement.
On the issue of a possible hike in fuel prices, Karat warned of a nation-wide agitation with other parties if the government implemented any increase. “We have been saying there should be no increase in fuel prices. People are already suffering due to tremendous rise in prices. There has been an enormous increase in the price of rice.
“At this stage, we do not want more burdens to be added. There will be severe protests across the country. We are talking to all our friends, all other political parties to protest,” Karat said.
His remarks were echoed by CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan. “It will be the last straw which breaks the camel's back. Any increase will have cascading effect on the economy. The Left parties will launch a movement if prices are increased,” he said at a press meet in Chennai.
Karat, and the resolution, also had a comment on the media and said the CPM wanted to put in place a code of conduct for print and electronic media and prohibition of cross media ownership. Karat said newspaper owners should not be allowed to start television channels and vice versa.
The resolution said the party would campaign to reverse the entry of FDI in print media. “The entry of FDI into the media, where 26 per cent foreign capital is allowed, has made a section of the media more pro-western, anti-political and anti-Communist,” it said.