Left expected to do better in 2014 elections: Manik Sarkar

Guwahati, Nov 10: Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has exuded confidence that the Left will do better in the next Lok Sabha elections as compared to the last time.

Maintaining that Left parties have been consistently raising issues directly afflicting the people, the CPI(M) Politburo member said his party was expected to "do better in 2014 Lok Sabha elections than the last time... There is no reason why we will do badly compared to the last time".

In a freewheeling discussion with a news agency here, Sarkar, who has been chief minister of the northeastern state for four consecutive terms, said the Left's strength declined only in the "electoral aspects, but not in the minds of the people".

To questions on projections regarding the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the post-poll situation, he said it was difficult to say now what would happen then.

"Let some more days pass, then we will be able to tell." The 64-year-old CPI(M) leader said winning or losing an election depended on many factors.

"Issues like casteism and communalism dominate our country's elections. Along with that, muscle, money and media power are used. So, we are finding it little difficult to face these powers.

"Moreover, our development is not even across the country. We are not denying that fact. Casteist approach, identity politics and now religious and communal sentiments are getting linked to elections. Sometimes, even regional sentiment has come to the fore," Sarkar said.

Without naming any party, he said they were trying to "influence the mindset of people through such factors, which do not integrate people but completely disintegrated them".

While accepting that Communist parties have failed to expand their presence in the country so far, Sarkar, however, exuded confidence that "the future is of the Left" as its ideology was being actively spread by the Indian youth.

"The struggle on people's issues is being led by the Left. Whether it is inside Parliament, even though the number is small, or outside, the Left is struggling on issues that affect the common people," he asserted.

Coming down heavily on the 'corporatisation' of the media, he claimed the media was creating a hype that the younger generation spoke only about Congress and BJP. "Media is controlled by the corporates.

Now what are the interests of the corporates? The corporates have exploited under the Congress rule... They (also) want to exploit with the help of BJP. So for them, Left cannot be an alternative," he claimed.

The Left cannot be popular with the corporates as it has been opposing issues like FDI, monopoly capitalism, liberalisation and privatisation.

"The Left itself has to take this message to the masses and the messenger's job is being done by the youth. It is not correct that the youth or the younger generation is not concerned about the Left. There is a connect between the Left and the youth of this country," he said.

Tripura CM said the Left Democratic Front was in a dominating position in Kerala

Condemning the violence against CPI(M) workers in West Bengal allegedly by Trinamool Congress members, Sarkar said people in that state were not being allowed to campaign or even cast their votes freely during the past few elections. "During elections of panchayats and urban bodies, common people were not allowed to vote independently with a free mind.

Had there been a safe, democratic and conducive atmosphere to caste vote, the result could have been a different one," he alleged.

Sarkar further said the unabated violence actually depicts the increasing strength of the Left in West Bengal because "if the strength is actually going down, there is no reason why the ruling party in indulging in violence against our party workers".

In Kerala, the Tripura chief minister said the Left Democratic Front was in a dominating position now and the ruling Congress-led UDF was "completely in a defensive attitude".


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