The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) says it has "no problem" in working under the leadership of Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati if the proposed Third Front comes to power in the next general elections because the priority is the defeat of both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"We are working to defeat the BJP and reject the Congress in the next Lok Sabha elections. We will do our best to ensure that the Third Front forms the government at the centre," CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said on Monday during an interaction with women journalists in New Delhi.
He said the party has no problems in working under Mayawati as she has a "good claim and chance" to become the country's next prime minister.
"She (Mayawati) has a party capable of getting a large number of seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections. She is the chief minister of a state (Uttar Pradesh) that sends the maximum number of MPs to parliament," Karat contended.
"None of the two political combinations (UPA and NDA) are good for the country," he said.
Karat's remarks are significant as there is considerable uncertainty over the Third Front, which mainly comprises parties that are not part of the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) or the opposition BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader AB Bardhan has openly backed the idea of Mayawati being the Third Front's prime ministerial candidate. However, Biman Bose, the chairman of West Bengal's ruling Left Front, has said the CPI-M had not discussed Mayawati as the Third Front leader and not projected any individual for prime minister.
When asked pointedly whether the Left would support the Congress after the general elections if the need arose, Karat said: "We are against any tie up with a party that is open to a strategic alliance with the US."
Karat's strident opposition to the India-US nuclear deal led to the Left parties withdrawing their outside support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government, prompting a trust vote in parliament July 22 that the UPA won.