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Left to assume greater role at Centre after polls

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 4: The Left parties are expecting a rich harvest in the coming assembly elections in view of what they call the ''corrective'' role being played by them at the Centre.

The Left parties are confident of emerging as a greater force at the Centre after the assembly polls and their leaders claim they can retain power in West Bengal, come back to power in Kerala and improve their performance in Tamil Nadu, Asom and Pondicherry.

Political observers do not rule out significant political changes after the assembly polls, saying the Manmohan Singh government is relentlessly pursuing NDA's economic policies and is blatantly ''pro-US'' in the foreign policy arena.

The CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP have reviewed the Manmohan Singh government's performance as not up to the mark while the CPI(M) is scheduled to undertake the exercise after the assembly polls results.

The analysts say the national importance of the assembly polls could not be underestimated as the Congress and the Left are pitted against each other in West Bengal, Kerala and Asom.

While the Left parties would try to project their constant opposition to the deviation of the UPA government from the Common Minimum Programme which they describe as the ''basis of their support'', the Congress has a lot of explaining to do, particularly on foreign and economic policies.

As the minority communities have a big share of votes in-Kerala (21 per ent), West Bengal(23 per cent) and Asom(26), the Left's articulation of the Iran issue might lead them to improve their performance in the assembly polls. This could further enhance their political strength at the Centre, the observers say.

In West Bengal, the Left Democratic Front(LDF) is trying to create history by winning the polls for the successive seventh time.

CPI leaders A B Bardhan and Shamim Faizi said ''The Left hopes to re-assert its position among the oppressed classes and the minorities. All talks of stringent measures of the EC, particularly in West Bengal are not going to have any impact and change the ground reality in the state.'' The Left had built a strong organisational base in the rural belt of the state, they added.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Ms Brinda Karat said the assembly polls provided the Left with an opportunity to win peoples affirmation for ''alternative political platform''.

''In West Bengal, the record of the Left Front in defence of people's rights had been shown even in the official statistics of the central government.'' In West Bengal, over 70 per cent of the total seats will be contested by the CPI(M), while the remaining 30 per cent would be shared by the other Left partners.

In Kerala for the first time, the CPI( M) will contest 91 seats while other Left parties will be getting less seats, except the CPI, which will contest 24 seats.

In Asom, the Front led by Asom Gana Parishad (Goswami) has made adjustments with both the Left and the UDF. As the deal was clinched quite late, about 30 per cent of the constituencies would witness friendly fights.

The Congress in Pondicherry has not yet decided on its allies. In the present 30-member assembly, the Congress has 18 seats. If it follows the Tamil Nadu pattern (it has conceded seats to the DMK and the Left), it would find it hard to retain power in the Union Territory.

In Kerala, Ms Karat said the ''utter failure'' of the UDF to provide any vision of development along with the huge crisis in the state's economy and the Left's relentless struggle for people's causes would ensure the return of the LDF.

Ms Karat, a Rajya Sabha member, said in Asom and Tamil Nadu the party had a strong presence in the assemblies.

''We believe that the increase in the Left strength will have a positive impact on the poltical situation at the national level to prevent the UPA from going ahead with its anti-people neo-liberal policies. The party Polit Bureau and the Central Committee have already decided to review the UPA government's 23-month-old performance.

She denied that the CPI(M) adopted different path of development for West Bengal and Kerala. While it sought greater FDI and industrialisation in the states, it wanted the strenghenting of the existing PSUs for Kerala.

''If you read the election manifestos for both states, you will find that the party stands for taking forward the process of industrialisation and employment generation, while protecting the interests of the working classes,'' she added.


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