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CPM to Cong: Wel help if BJP fails - The Economic Times

Kamil Zaheer ()
March 4, 1998

Title: CPM to Cong: Wel help if BJP fails
Author: Kamil Zaheer
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: March 4, 1998

CPI(M) support to the Congress bid for government is based on the
assumption that the BJP will get the first call from the
President to form a government at the Centre.

The Marxists are well aware that the BJP and allies will cry
'foul' if the Congress-United Front forms the government first
with the President K R Narayanan's consent.

Thus, the CPI(M) leaders are tempering their avowed goal of
keeping the BJP out of power with the realisation that unless the
BJP is given a chance to form the government, there is likely to
be an upswell of sympathy for the saffron party.

"We have to balance our short-term goal of preventing a BJP
government at the Centre with the long-term objective of checking
the BJP hi the future," said a senior CPI(M) leader.

Thus, the CPI(M) while showing that it is trying its best to keep
out the 'communal' BJP and its allies out of power to keep
'secular voters' reassured, is also aware of the pitfalls of such
a strategy.

The CPI, on the other hand, has thrown its weight behind the
Congress with little reservation, giving the green signal to the
Congress to appoint anyone as prime minister, including Ms Sonia

On the other hand, CPI(M) party insiders say that the politburo
and central committee meetings, slated to start from tomorrow
will be heated with some likely to argue that a BJP dependent on
allies and just slightly over the majority-mark may be a lesser
evil than the BP coming to power next year or in two years with a
full majority, riding high on sympathy.

"If the BP gets the chance and does not muster the majority,
because the Congress and UF remain intact, then we will
definitely help form a Congress government, " said a Left leader.

However, the CPI(M), whose general secretary Harkishen Singh
Surjeet is playing his usual active role in contacting various
ecular' leaders, also realises that if the BJP forms the
government, it may well consolidate its position and stay in
power for a long-time. And, for the Left, even a short spell of
BJP ride at the Centre is bad, bad news.

To use a cliche, the CPI(M) is on the horn on one of the most
serious dilemma and though the visible party leadership looks all
set to usher in a Congress-led government.

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