Call for Third Front was ‘unrealistic’, CPI-M admits (Lead)

June 22nd, 2009 - 10:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Over a month after its poll debacle, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Monday conceded that the Left-led Third Front “failed to be a viable and credible alternative”, but put up a brave front saying its mass base in its key two states was still intact.
“In the absence of a country-wide alliance and no policy platform being presented, the call for an alternative government was unrealistic,” CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters here after the party’s two-day central committee meeting that concluded Sunday.

The CPI-M leader said the poll result was the “collective responsibility” of the party’s central committee, which included him.

He, however, maintained that the attempt to rustle up a non-Congress, non-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government “was a correct tactic”.

The CPI-M leader indicated that there was no rethink in the party on its position on the India-US nuclear deal as well as on economic issues.

Karat said the Left parties’ decision to pull out support to the Congress-led government in July last year was a correct step and in consonance with their “stance against strategic alliance with the United States”.

He said the communists would stick to their guns on certain economic issues too.

“The left front will vigorously oppose all such measures in the parliament and outside which seek to push through legislations for increasing foreign capital in the banking and insurance sectors and financial sector liberalisation.”

He said the party would continue its resistance to disinvestment of profit-making public sector undertakings, foreign direct investment in retail sector and higher education.

Referring to the attempt at forming a Third Front, he said: “This effort resulted in the electoral understanding forged by some regional and Left parties in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Karnataka.”

“However, such an electoral understanding could not be extended beyond these four states and the three Left-led states of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura.”

He said this was why it “failed to be a viable and credible alternative”.

After two days of brain-storming over the election results, the party sought to convey the communists had not lost everything.

“Though there is some erosion, the mass base of the party is intact by and large in West Bengal and Kerala,” Karat said.

The party got 16 parliament seats, down from 43 in the 2004 elections.

He said the reasons for the party’s poor showing in West Bengal had to do with “political, governmental and organisational spheres” and this was discussed at the central committee meeting. Karat did not elaborate on this.

About the organisational problems in his home state of Kerala, he said: “There will be a meeting of the politburo July 4 and 5 specifically about the organisational matters in Kerala.”

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