CPI-M upbeat for Third Front after BJP-BJD split (Lead)

March 8th, 2009 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) With the collapse of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Biju Janata Dal (BJD) alliance in Orissa, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Sunday pushed forward the idea of forming a Third Front at national level before the Lok Sabha elections.
The CPI-M, which successfully forged an alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh, the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in Karnataka along with its other Left allies, sent politburo member Sitaram Yechury as its emissary to meet Orissa Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik and other leaders in Bhubaneswar.

“We are happy to hear the news of the BJD breaking off from the BJP and the NDA (National Democratic Alliance). Politburo member Sitaram Yechury is scheduled to meet Naveen Patnaik and other leaders,” CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters here after the two-day central committee meeting of the party.

His comments come as the CPI-M and the Communist Party of India (CPI) leaders in Orissa pledged to support the BJD government after the BJP announced withdrawal of support to Patnaik-led state government.

Karat said Yechury left for Bhubaneswar for talks with Patnaik and a decision on an alliance would be taken after he returns.

“Sitaram will meet BJD leaders and discuss with them the avenues of cooperation,” Karat said.

“It is a good development. After the Kandhamal attack on Christians, our leaders met Patnaik and told him that it is untenable for him to continue with the BJP,” he said.

Kandhamal district in Orissa witnessed large-scale violence against Christians after the murder of a Hindu leader Aug 23 last year.

Karat said the BJD was in touch with the CPI-M for the past few days.

The communist leader said Patnaik went to meet the Orissa governor in Bhabaneswar Sunday with 78 MLAs, including two Left MLAs.

“The BJP wants the Patnaik government to be dismissed on the ground that it is a minority government,” he said, adding that the Left wants an assembly session called for a floor test. “That’s the only course. Any other would be undemocratic.”

He said, “The break-up of the NDA came at a time when Advani has pooh-poohed the idea of a Third Front”.

The BJP’s senior leader, L.K. Advani, has said that India has a bipolar political arrangement, which would work.

“There is ample scope for a Third Front. In our manifesto we have summarised the prospects of a Third Front and given our opinion about the alternative economic, social equity, social justice, foreign policy and a strong federal set-up. We are confident that non-BJP and non-Congress parties and forces would come together with us,” Karat said.

Asked whether the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) would have a pre-poll tie-up with the Left and its allies before polls, Karat said: “The BSP has told us that they don’t want to enter into a pre-poll alliance.”

At the same time, the BSP has conveyed that its stance is anti-Congress and anti-BJP, the CPI-M leader said.

The CPI-M also finalised candidates for 60 Lok Sabha seats, including 32 in West Bengal. Out of 32 candidates in West Bengal, 12 are new faces and only two are women.

Karat said the candidates’ lists for Kerala, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka would be finalised in a few days.

The issues relating to seat-sharing in Kerala will be solved by March 12, he said.

Karat also expressed hope that the problems in the Kerala unit of the party would not affect its election prospects.

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