Non-BJP, non-Congress government after polls: Manik Sarkar (Interview - Election Special)
The CPI-M hopes to form a non-Congress, non-BJP government after the Lok Sabha polls but it did not cobble a "third alternative" now for good reasons, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has said.
"We (CPI-M) have consciously avoided developing a third alternative this time," Sarkar, a member of the CPI-M politburo, told IANS in an interview. "The earlier (pre-2009 election) initiative to form a third (front) government was not appropriate. We have done self-criticism on the earlier move," he said.
Sarkar did not elaborate. The CPI-M and its Left allies had pulled out of the Congress-led UPA alliance ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha election in which the Marxists were bruised nationally.
Sarkar said: "On the basis of policies, an alternative secular democratic front sans the BJP and the Congress will be formed after the Lok Sabha polls. This initiative has already got a good response from political parties and people."
Asked who will be the prime minister if such an alliance got a majority in the Lok Sabha, he said: "Don't worry, everything will be decided after the declaration of results. Wait for some time.
"Before the election, it is not possible to form such a front because every party has a different agenda and issues. Every party wants to secure maximum seats."
He pointed out that the Congress and the BJP put together never got more than 47-48 percent of all polled votes in general elections.
This means that over 50 percent want neither the Congress nor the BJP. "Hence, there is a huge scope for forming a third front along with secular parties."
Sarkar said on Oct 30 last year, 14 political parties, including the Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal-United, met in New Delhi. On Feb 25, nine of these parties discussed alternative policies.
"After the results, many more parties would come together to form the proposed front."
Sarkar said the mistakes on coalition politics before and after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections were carefully studied and analysed.
"The CPI-M's mistakes and shortfalls are being rectified," he said, without elaborating.
According to the 65-year-old Marxist leader, the growth of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is unlikely to stifle the Left.
"They are against some corporate groups only. They remain silent against other millionaires. We have been against corruption for years."
The CPI-M leader said the AAP had not unveiled "any concrete alternative policies".
He said he was not opposed to foreign direct investment (FDI) per se.
"But the FDI should be dictated on our (India's) terms and conditions, not their (foreigners') terms and conditions."
Sarkar was confident about the performance of the Communists in Kerala and West Bengal, where the CPI-M-led government was ousted in 2011 ending 34 years of Left rule.
"The result in both states will be very good (for the Left)."
He added that neither the Congress-led UPA nor the BJP-led NDA was sincere vis-a-vis the problems plaguing the country's northeastern region.
"Tripura can be a model in India to understand how an alternative form of government should be run.
"Many political leaders, media and individuals are now curious to know the reasons behind the (economic) development and (how we resolved the issue) of terrorism in Tripura."
The CPI-M has decided to field 98 candidates in 22 states in the Lok Sabha elections - the highest in any election since the party took birth in 1964.
The Left strength in the outgoing Lok Sabha was 24, down from 59 in 2004. The CPI-M won 16 seats in 2009, down from 43 in 2004.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at email@example.com)
(Posted on 27-03-2014)