This is a concession by Karat that CPM was in fact a palanquin bearer of Congress during the UPA regime. kalyan
We don't want to be Congress' palanquin bearers: Karat
Agencies Posted online: Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 1503 hrs
New Delhi : CPI(M) foresees a realignment of political forces after the Lok Sabha elections in favour of the Third Front and rules out supporting Congress in government formation as it does not not want to be its "palanquin bearers". The party says it will also "very seriously" consider joining a non-Congress secular government and does not outrightly rule out the possibility of heading such a formation.
In a wide-ranging interview to PTI, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat spoke on various issues including on how the Left parties would approach the Indo-US nuclear deal, an issue on which they withdrew support to the UPA government, and on the Sri Lankan issue. He was not in agreement with NCP leader Sharad Pawar that the Left parties would have to support the Congress and the UPA it heads in the post-poll scenario to keep the BJP out.
"We don't have to be palanquin bearers for anyone. There is no danger of BJP coming to power at the Centre this time. The choice will be a non-Congress secular government or a Congress-led government. I don't think the BJP is going to be in the picture," Karat said. He said in fact more parties would join the Third
Front after the elections. "We expect a realignment of forces after the elections. I am saying parties which are not with us now will come towards us," he said.
The overall trend, Karat said, has been very clear that the UPA has practically ceased to exist. Most of the parties (of the UPA) are finding their own way and parting company with the Congress as far as the elections are concerned. "All these parties will have to decide after the elections what they propose to do," he said. But when asked whether the realignment could also affect his combination, the CPI(M) leader said the parties of the Front have come into the grouping with the aim of defeating both the Congress and the BJP and their respective allies in the states.
"We have already discussed that we need to carry forward this after the Lok Sabha elections and to see that we form a government at the Centre. The regional parties that have joined with the Left parties have a stake in this project," he said. Asked if he had parties like RJD and LJP in mind when he talked about realignment, Karat said the Front has made a general appeal to all non-Congress secular parties to come together on a joint platform for pro-people economic and independent foreign policies and in defence of secularism. "Many of these parties share this approach and it is up to them to decide," he said.
To another question about Pawar's statement that the Congress and the UPA cannot ignore the Left and have to do business with it after the elections, Karat said "his intentions are good. "But as far as we are concerned, we cannot accept and support a Congress-led government. We are working for a government which will be a non-Congress secular one."
Asked if he would mind the Congress being part of it, the CPI(M) leader said it was for the Congress to decide whether it would facilitate formation of a secular government. "It is for them to decide." He dismissed a view that the position of Congress and the Left was only posturing before elections. "Let us see what happens. After the elections, everybody's position will become clear. My party adopts a political line. It is not some on-the-spur of the moment decision. "We have adopted a political line in which we have called for the defeat of Congress and the BJP and the formation of an alternative secular government. We will work for that to succeed. Let us see."
Asked about the possibility of the CPI(M) joining government at the Centre unlike in 1996 when it spurned an offer, Karat said it had been a long-standing policy (not to join a government if it cannot influence its policies) and it would take a decision after the elections.
Karat said "but we cannot say what type of government will be formed after the elections. If a non-Congress and secular government is feasible, then the matter will be taken up by us." He said last time, the matter was not not taken up very seriously because it was a Congress-led government and the party did not want to join it. "As I said, if there is a non-Congress government, the matter will be considered very seriously," he said.
Asked if the party would agree to have its own Prime Minister if an opportunity came its way, Karat said "first of all, let us discuss whether we will join a government. Then we will see what is to be done. "There are various factors we have to take into account when we decide to join a government. So let us first see what are those circumstances and then we will take a decision," the CPI(M) leader said.
On his assessment of the polls so far, he said it was clear there was a three-way contest between Congress and its allies, BJP and its allies and the non-Congress, non-BJP combination. In states like Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, the parties of the Third Front were ahead, he said. To a question about Pawar's view that CPI(M) and BSP together would not cross 65-70 seats and the Third Front would not be in a position to form a government, he said Pawar has forgotten parties like BJD, TDP, JD(S), AIADMK, PMK and others of this front.