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No third alternative before next polls: CPI

Ruling out possibility of formation of a third alternative before the next elections, the CPI on Friday said it would go for "state-specific" alliances with various political parties.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2008 18:45 IST

Ruling out possibility of formation of a third alternative before the next elections, the CPI on Friday said it would go for "state-specific" alliances with various political parties.

"I do not think it (third alternative) will come into existence so early. It is our longer perspective to build a third political alternative based on common struggles on people's issues," party General Secretary A B Bardhan said at a programme "Meet the Press" organised by Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ).

Whether the third alternative could become a reality before the 2009 elections, he said, "If it comes before elections, I will be happy. If not, we will go for state-specific alliances taking into account the political situation in the states."

On being asked whether his party's honeymoon with the UPA was over, the CPI leader said, "there never was a honeymoon. We have been extending conditional outside support to the government on the basis of Common Minimum Programme (CMP)."

On his recent breakfast meeting with UNPA convener and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu here, which fuelled speculation over Third Front, Bardhan said, "there was no dialogue on electoral understanding. At the moment, we are focusing on common struggles on public issues like price rise and farmers' plight."

Bardhan, who was re-elected the General Secretary for the fourth consecutive term at the party's 20th national congress which concluded on Thursday, said the Left would work with other secular and democratic forces to prevent BJP from coming to power.

"We will try to forge state-specific electoral pacts to ensure the defeat of communal forces," he said.

Viewing the third alternative as a long-term goal, he envisaged a key role for the left parties in building such a force as an alternative to Congress and BJP.

"It is very important for the left parties to have a much better coordination and unity than what it is now as it will go a long way in forging the third alternative," the CPI leader said.

The CPI, which fought the 2004 polls in AP in alliance with Congress, is still undecided on whether to go with the ruling party or TDP.

"We think both (Congress and TDP) are secular parties. Let the elections be announced and we will see. We will decide depending on the political situation after internal discussions," Bardhan said.

He did not see any contradiction in his party attacking the UPA government on several issues even while continuing the support.

"Where is the question of duality here? We are not part of the government. Since our support is conditional, we have the right to support those issues which are in tune with the CMP and oppose those that go against it."

The party veteran said his party would continue to oppose the Indo-US nuclear deal as it imposed "serious conditions on sovereignty and independent foreign policy."

Bardhan said there were "many more steps" left before the Indo-US nuclear deal could be operationalised.

"Let us wait. We (UPA-Left cordination committee) will meet again in April and go through the outcome of the negotiations on safeguards agreement with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)," he said.

Asserting that the Left parties were not opposed to harness atomic energy, he said they were against the 123 agreements, which infringes on the country's sovereignty.

Asked whether he foresaw possibility of mid-term polls, Bardhan said, "It is not for us to decide when the elections should be held. It is for the UPA to decide. Let them decide, we will prepare for it."