CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat took an indirect swipe at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, by stressing that the Left will support a Lok Sabha member for the top post.
“We have seen Rajya Sabha members becoming Prime Ministers. This time we will definitely work towards making a Lok Sabha leader the country's next Prime Minister,” he told News 24 channel.
The Congress hit back in equal measure. “Post-elections only numbers will decide who will back whom. Let Mr Karat not personalise the agenda because of his subjective prejudices,’’ said spokesman Abhishek Singhvi, 50, in an allusion to Karat’s antipathy towards Singh.
In the interview, the 61-year-old Marxist spoke about his relations with the Prime Minister while also ruling himself out of the race. “The right candidate will be decided if the Third Front is in a position to form the next government and the Congress should support it the way we did in 2004,’’ he said.
Karat’s argument however found no takers. Only last week, Congress leader Kapil Sibal, 62, had ruled out supporting any other formation while maintaining that the issue of Singh as prime minister is “non negotiable”.
Karat also said barring the BSP no other Third Front party has so far projected its leader for the PM’s post. He reiterated that the Left is willing to join the next government, however, a final decision on it is still pending.