New Delhi: CPM general secretary Prakash Karat rubbished the talks of a 'federal front' and said, "... let those parties which are willing to come together on a common programme platform do so without that just talking about a front does not make much sense". The Left parties are scheduled to have a convention on July 1 following which they will come out with a set of alternative policies which they hope will attract other democratic parties on to it's platform. Karat also ruled out any future alliance with the Congress saying, "It is only to stop the BJP and have a secular government that at one time we extended support - that is a one time exception". Karat was speaking to CNN-IBN's Rupashree Nanda.
CNN-IBN: The political situation in the country is very fluid and increasingly there are talks of a Third Front - do you think that it is a possibility? Is a Third Front possible without the Left parties?
Prakash Karat, general gecretary, CPM: Well, we have always said that the coming Lok Sabha elections, both the Congress and UPA and the BJP and NDA - they are not going to fare well. And you have seen the shrinking of both these alliances in the last number of months. The roles of the non-Congress, non-BJP parties, especially the regional parties will be much more and it will be reflected in the Lok Sabha elections. As far as we are concerned, the Left parties are organising a convention on the first of July in New Delhi where we shall put out our national political platform and we'll set out what we consider are the alternative programmes and policies to be pursued and we shall appeal to other democratic parties and forces to support this platform and programme. That should give us the basis of how to go forward.
CNN-IBN: Would the Left parties take the initiative for the Third Front?
Karat: We don't use the term Third Front because it seems to be just reduced to just getting parties together for some electoral alliance. We believe that any alternative should be based on an alternative programme and policies so we are working for that. I don't think anything immediately emerging but after the elections it is possible, I think for some alternative to emerge.
CNN-IBN: There is talk of CPM going back to the Congress - you had a common minimum programme.
Karat: There is no question of going back because we were never with the Congress . It is only to stop the BJP and have a secular government that at one time we extended support - that is a one time exception. We are fighting against both the Congress and BJP.
CNN-IBN: How would you respond to Nitish Kumar reaching out to Mamata Banerjee and this talk of a Third Front. Naveen Patnaik was in Delhi - he was talking about a federal front as an healthy alternative! How do you see the coming together of these three chief ministers.
Karat: I am not so concerned about the nomenclature. What I am saying is let those parties which are willing to come together on a common programme platform do so without that just talking about a front does not make much sense.
CNN-IBN: Would you ever be part of an alternative where the Trinamool Congress is there? If TMC is talking with Nitish Kumar...
Karat: That is what I stressed - the Left is coming out with its own platform which we consider is a democratic secular platform. We hope that those forces which agree with that platform and policies they can join hand. But let us wait and see.
CNN-IBN: How do you see the emergence of Narendra Modi as a strong national leader and a potential prime ministerial candidate? Would it lead to polarisation of voters? Would it evoke strong Hinduvta sentiments?
Karat: Well, if the BJP is going to project him as their leader, the record of the Modi government in Gujarat, what they tout as the Gujarat model of development is a combination of two things. One is complete hostility and attack on minorities and complete pandering to big business and big corporates. This combination is a lethal combination. And we will definitely oppose it and fight it.