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Third Front a cut-paste job: CPM

Third Front a cut-paste job: CPM

Author: Manoj C G
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: May 22, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/third-front-a-cutpaste-job-cpm/463912/0

Having burnt its fingers chasing the Third Front dream, the CPI(M) on Thursday admitted that the alternative it tried to forge was essentially a "cut and paste" job done on the eve of elections and indicated that it would not indulge in such poll-time misadventure again.

For the first time, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat has admitted in an article in the party mouthpiece, People's Democracy, that his party had tried to project the Left's tie-ups in three southern states and Orissa as a "national level non-Congress, non-BJP alternative", which proved to be neither credible nor viable. Faced with criticism from fellow comrades for his enthusiasm for the Third Front, Karat, adds that it was the central committee, in its meeting held in January, which had worked out the electoral line and given the direction that the Left should work together to make the alternative "realisable".

While the CPI(M) still believes that there is potential for building a third alternative, especially since the non-Congress combination has got 21 per cent of the votes, Karat made it clear that in future such an alliance would be not merely electoral but built on a common policy platform.

The CPI(M) top boss has, in effect, gone back to the line adopted by the CPI(M)'s 19th Party Congress that the third alternative should be built on the basis of programmes and policies distinct from that of the Congress and the BJP.

"The CPI(M) and the CPI had an electoral understanding with some of the non-Congress, non-BJP parties in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa and seat adjustments in Karnataka. On the basis of these state-level understandings forged on the eve of the elections, we attempted to project them as a national-level non-Congress, non-BJP alternative," Karat wrote. "It is evident that such a combination which had its relevance in the states concerned was not a credible and viable alternative at the national level. Further, the electoral combinations, which were forged state-wise, precluded any national policy platform being projected," he noted.

At the same time, Politburo member Sitaram Yechury was more forthright, noting, "Such an alternative cannot, obviously, be a cut and paste arrangement on the eve of elections. This can only emerge through sustained popular struggles. There are no shortcuts."

"Both the BSP, which declared pre-elections that it would be with a non-Congress, non-BJP combination, and the JD(S), which hosted the first public rally announcing the non-Congress, non-BJP combination in Karnataka, have decided to support the UPA. Even before the results were announced, the TRS which was part of a non-Congress, non-BJP front in Andhra Pradesh, had joined the NDA," he said.

On the organisational front, Karat hinted that there could be an overhaul in the offing in Kerala and West Bengal. "The party will have to take the necessary political and organisational measures to overcome the shortcomings and mistakes," he said.


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