Criticism apart, CPI-M may still back Congress in future

March 29th, 2008 - 8:23 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Liz Mathew
Coimbatore, March 29 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) may be attacking the Congress-led government’s policies but it is not averse to backing it again to keep “communal” forces away from power. Speaking at the inaugural session of the CPI-M’s 19th party congress, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and his Communist Party of India (CPI) counterpart A.B. Bardhan indicated that a Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government with Left as an ally could be more people-friendly.

Although both leaders said the Left had to make all efforts to build an alternative platform for “pro-people economic policies, social justice and independent foreign policies”, they were also clear on one point - that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should not be allowed to come to power.

Quoting former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to drive his point that communalism of a majority community would be dangerous for the country, Karat said: “The party congress will work out appropriate tactics to isolate the BJP and to prevent any opportunistic line up of parties around it for electoral gains.”

Bardhan added: “The Left has to take all steps to ensure that the communal forces led by the BJP are not allowed to come to power. The Left has to hold high the banner of anti-communalism and secular unity.”

The CPI leader, invited to address the inaugural session, also said: “Waiting in the wing is the BJP. It is trying to utilise all failings of the UPA government and is making a bid for power. The BJP is a right reactionary communal party.”

Even while delivering a scathing attack on the UPA’s policies, the communist leaders were quick to add that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government had introduced many “pro-people measures”. But they took full credit for it.

Karat pointed out that the UPA government did not introduce foreign direct investment in retail trade, higher education and other services and it did not privatize pension funds or dilute labour laws due to the Left’s opposition.

“All these have not happened. The CPI-M has acted as sentinels of the people’s interests,” Karat said.

CPI-M sources also said that the 722 party delegates would discuss the political-organisation report in the coming days and come up future political strategies.

“Our experience with the UPA has not been very bad. The Left parties have achieved a lot from it. We have played an important role. We could persuade the government to do pro-people measures only because we were supporting it,” said a leader who did not want to be named.

The leaders pointed out that the Congress-led government had been sympathetic towards the Left-ruled states and their demands.

“They stood by us when we faced troubles in Nandigram and in Kannur,” he pointed out, referring to the two places in West Bengal and Kerala respectively where violence has claimed several lives, damaging the Left reputation.

The communist leaders also admitted that a non-Congress, non-BJP government might be a dream in the present political scenario.

“We will be happy if a third alternative can be formed at the national level. The CPI-M could play a major role in that. But realities may be different,” said a senior party leader.

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