Left rebuffs Rahul, says no support to Congress (Lead)

May 5th, 2009 - 4:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) The Communists, who almost toppled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government last year, Tuesday rebuffed Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s attempt to woo them and said they had no desire to prop the party again.
Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary A.B. Bardhan and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders Sitaram Yechury as well as Brinda Karat said in identical statements that they would not support the Congress after the Lok Sabha elections.

“I don’t think the Left will oblige them (Congress) this time,” Bardhan told reporters here. “They are nervous about (the election results).”

Added Yechury: “Our stand is for a non-Congress, non-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government.”

Rahul Gandhi told reporters earlier Tuesday that the “field is open” for post-election alliances and that he was confident that the Left would support a Congress government of Manmohan Singh.

He added in an apparent sarcastic note that the Congress too would support the Left if it won around 170-180 seats.

Karat, a CPI-M politburo member, reiterated that the Left was determined to usher in “an alternative secular government at the centre, not under the BJP or the Congress”.

She said Rahul Gandhi’s statement amounted to conceding defeat in the April-May elections.

“Basically the party is conceding defeat. He knows the Congress will not have the numbers and that is why he is talking of a post-poll alliance.”

Karat added that the Left was in talks with other parties and “more parties will join us after the polls”. The Left is heading a Third Front that also includes regional parties.

“The Congress general secretary’s confidence is misplaced because we will prefer to have a non-Congress, non-BJP government, and we are confident a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance will come to power,” Karat added.

The four-party Left bloc in parliament led by the CPI-M won over 60 Lok Sabha seats in 2004 and were the prime movers behind the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

The Congress-Left differences came to a head over the India-US civil nuclear deal, leading to the Communists withdrawing support to the government in July last year.

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