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Differences among Left parties on timing of third alternative

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) Differences have surfaced in the Left parties over launching of a non-Congress and non-BJP third alternative with two of its smaller constituents pressing for its immediate formation to fill the vacuum created due to ''the UPA government fast losing its credibility''.

However, the CPI(M) and the CPI, referring to three such experiences during the last two decades, advocated that any such fresh initiative could not be repeated just for ''electoral alliance'', stressing that it must be evolved and shaped on the basis of a long-drawn people's struggles.

In separate interviews to UNI, they also questioned the credentials of the five regional parties, barring the Samajwadi Party (SP), for making attempts in this direction saying that Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu had invited World Bank's CEO to Andhra Pradesh and had implemented the multinationals' agenda when he was the chief minister. Mr Naidu vigorously implemented the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund-sponsored economic policies and had also supported the previous NDA regime at the Centre.

SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mr Naidu have repeatedly advocated the formation of a national third alternative comprising the SP, TDP, AGP, AIADMK and the National Conference.

CPI leaders A B Bardhan and D Raja stressed that ''the third alternative can only materialise through struggles evolved on policies and programmes which are different from those of both the BJP and the Congress. In the meantime, the regional parties can participate in joint movements along with the Left parties. We can draw an agreeable programme.'' The CPI leaders said the regional parties also had to spell out their thinking on the Manmohan Singh government, shifting the country's independent foreign policy to benefit the US and other western powers and the demand for reversal of its ''anti-people, anti-worker and anti-employee economic policies and the attempts to liberalise the labour laws to help the owners.'' CPI(M) stalwart and Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said the third alternative could not be formed in a cut-and-paste manner as it could be made viable and sustainable only through certain policies and programmes and joint mass movements. ''The Left has been trying to form such a real alternative during the last one decade on the principle of opposition to both communalism and negative impact of the economic policies.''

Significantly, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, in the latest issue of the party weekly organ 'People's Democracy' underlined the need of a third alternative andemphasised that there were a range of issues like independent foreign policy, farmers' demand, FDI in retail, privatisation of profit making PSUs, employment, price rise and the BJP's 'communal' agenda on which the Left and other secular parties could launch movements through which a third alternative could be shaped.

''Till then, it may be possible to work out common electoral tactics whenever required but a hasty announcement will prove to be immature,'' Mr Karat added.

In reply to a query on any such initiative, the CPI(M) and CPI leaders claimed that the Left Democratic Front in Kerala and West Bengal were already working on this line. They had also made seat adjustments with the DMK in Tamil Nadu. In Assam, they tried their best but did not succeed as the AGP now stood vertically split.

Mr Bardhan and Mr Yechury said even as there was no immediate proposal to launch the third alternative, there was every possibility that the Left parties would sit together after the assembly polls to discuss the issue. ''We will review the government's performance pertaining to implementation of the CMP, the basis of our support to the Manmohan Singh government.'' ''Now you want to break up with the BJP and start fresh, but you will have to join the joint struggle in the field...'' Mr Bardhan said pointing towards the former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister.

The CPI General Secretary and freedom fighter said the regional parties were welcome to join the common struggle. ''But we are not for jod-tod (opportunistic) electoral alliance.'' Mr Bardhan said the regional parties had so far not declared their ''intention'' how they wanted to go about the whole issue and what kind of political, economic and foreign affairs policies they believed in, he said adding that they were against the Congress alone or the BJP alone.

Forward Bloc General Secretary Debvrat Biswas was more straightforward when he quipped, ''the Left parties have to take the responsibility for such an initiative and lead it from the front.

Only the Left can provide such an alternative.'' Mr Biswas also said the possibility of such alternative would emerge after the assembly polls were over. ''We have to work out this alternative.'' Endorsing Mr Biswas's viewpoint, RSP national Secretary and MP Abani Roy said, ''The move is necessitated after the BJP has made its intention clear by saying it can cooperate with the Congress after it gave up its policy of minority appeasement, which simply points towards the bipolar polity it wants to establish in the country.'' On the regional parties' role in the formation of and sustaining the proposed third alternative, Mr Roy said it would depend on their clearly defined approach to BJP's 'communalism' and new economic policies being pursued by both the BJP and the Congress.

UNI

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