Coimbatore, Mar 31: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) General Secretary Prakash Karat is likely to become the Prime Minister, if the proposed third alternative gets an absolute majority in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. This was the mood prevailing among the people as well as the Comrades of the CPI(M) when they saw large number of individual cutouts of Mr Karat at prominent places in this textile city, known as Manchester of India, where a six-day 19th party Congress was in progress.
A party comrade said perhaps this was the first time a CPI(M) leader was projected as the future Prime Minister, and even in the Marxist-ruled West Bengal for the last 31 years, neither the former Chief Minister Jyoti Basu, nor the present incumbent Buddhadev Bhattacharya were given enormous publicity by displayng huge cutouts.
Talking to newspersons here today, Polit Bureau Member Sitaram Yechury stressed for the ''Third Alternative'' to counter the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance(NDA) parties.
Mr Yechury said the CPI(M) will have alliance only with secular parties, which were ready to oppose the ''divisive and communal'' forces vehemently and anti-poeple economic reforms policies pursued by the Centre. The party would also expect its partners to vociferously voice their opinions against the Central Government playing second-fiddle to United States in the nuclear deal.
A prominent leader of the CPI(M), who was here to attend the Congress, told UNI that the party is representing 12 MPs out of 20 Lok Sabha seats from Kerala. The moment, the entire MPs from Kerala extend their support to Mr Karat, there is every possiblity of a Keralite getting an opportunity to become the Prime Minister for the first time around, leading to bury the hatchet between the State Chief Miniser V S Achuthanandan and the State Secretary Pinnari Vijayan.
CPI(M)'s strength in West Bengal would also prove to be handy for Mr Karat, as out of 41 Lok Sabha seats, the party has 26 seats. In Tripura, of the two-seats for Lok Sabha, the party is sure of getting both. Moreover, the Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who was elected for the fourth successive term because of his extreme honesty and excellent administrative credentials, would also stand by Mr Karat.
The CPI-M is also confident of getting majority in alliance with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(DMK) in Tamil Nadu and Telegu Desam Party(TDP) in Andhra Pradesh. The party is also hopeful of winning some seats with the assistance of regional parties in various States.
If the CPI(M) gets not less than 103 seats in the next Lok Sabha elections, the chances of the party leading the nation could not be ruled out, the party sources said.
Though the CPI(M) will not project Mr Karat's openly as the next Prime Minister, it will be amply evident during the course of time, the sources added.