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'Punjab, U'khand heading towards hung assemblies'

By Staff
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Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Jan 14: Left parties view the coming Assembly polls inthree states and later in Uttar Pradesh as a precursor to the 2009general elections and forsee hung assemblies in Uttrakahand and Punjab.

The Assembly polls will definitely influence the course ofpolitical developments on the national political scenario despite thefact that there are different issues and different politicalcombinations in the fray next month, the top Left leaders told UNI inseparate interviews.

They also talked at length on their role in further isolating the"communal forces" in these polls and bringing to the fore the issues ofdevelopment, employment opportunities, deepening agrarian crisis andthe common man's sufferings.

On the possiblity of hung House in Punjab, CPI General Secretary AB Bardhan said " the Left has very serious objections to certaineconomic policies of Capt Amarinder Singh particularly his deal withReliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and the CM has antagonisedthe entire state government employees, electricity workers and othersections of the people." Mr Bardhan, the veteran Communist and freedomfighter, observed that the handing over of land by the CM wasvehemently resented by the peasantry." This will have repercussions onthe fortunes of the Congress in the rural and the urban areas." The CPIveteran said furthermore, policies of the state government werevirtually not opposed by the Akali Dal- BJP combine."

"That is whypeople have very difficult choice and that ensures victory ofnon-Congress, non- Akali forces and the individuals who will make itdifficult for either side to win majority." On a similar possibility inUttarakhand, Party National Secretary Shamim Faizi said Chief MinisterN D Tiwari had not made any significant contribution towards theprogress and prosperity of the state." But that applies to the BJP aswell as it was in power at the time of creation of the state." MrFaizi, editor, party Weekly 'New Age' said both were responsbile formessing up the state's economy and shattering the dreams of people ofthe new state.

The CPI leaders said though Uttrakhand Kranti Dal, a regionaloutfit, that had only four MLAs in the present Assembly, could not domuch on its own, but it could definitely upset the political equationsif it chose the right kind of allies including the Left.

The states going to elections this year have different issues anddifferent political formulations, CPI(M) senior leader and party Deputyleader in the Lok Sabha Mohammad Salim said." Therefore, it isdifficult to expect a single outcome."

The role of the Left in supporting the UPA on the basis of NationalCommon Mimimum Programme (NCMP) and its vigil role will definitelyattract the new support base, the CPI(M) leader said. "Though the Leftparties are not very strong in these states, they have a role infurther isolating the communal forces and bringing to the fore thepeople's issues," Mr Salim said.

Though the UP elections are to take place later, but because ofissues these are to throw up and the size of the state they are veryimportant for the country's politics.

Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan said the way the BJP isgoing back to its core communal politics, it would have theconsequences of its so called" secular allies" getting isolated.

The emotive issues of temples and mosques attracted the voters nomore, Mr Devrajan said adding that that development, education andemployment opportunities are the real issues.

The Left leaders said given the present situation, it is importantfor all the secular forces to ensure that their division of votesshould not give a new lease of life to the saffron party.

Elaborating, they said in Punjab and Uttarkhand the fight isbetween the two combinations- one led by the Congress and the other bythe NDA.

But both these states are expected to throw up hung assemblies andthe combinations which will then determine the alignment of forces forthe grand battle in 2009.

In Punjab, though the Congress has regained some of the lostground after the Chief Minister's ' Vikas Yatra' but still it faces avery stiff challenge from the Akali- BJP combination.

The CPI and the CPI(M), who contested in alliance with theCongress in last Lok Sabha polls, have now floated their own Frontwhich includes Balwant Singh Ramuwalia's Lok Bhalai Party.

Though the Left parties are contesting limited number of seats and notprojecting as an alternative, it may have an adverse impact on theprospects of the Congress in number of constiuencies. The Akali combineis also said to be facing the problem particularly in the urban areas,the traditional base of the BJP. In Uttrakhand, despite factional fightin the Congress, the BJP has not been able to exploit the incumbencyfactor.

The three factions, led by Mr Tiwari, PCC chief Harish Rawatand maverick Satpal Maharaj, have influence in three different areas,so it might not harm each other in electoral terms and that it is theworry of the BJP, that too have internal dissessions, based on internalconflicts in Kumaun and Garhwal regions.

Manipur presents an interesting picture where the CPI and theCongress are in a coalition government, but have announced to contestthe polls separately.

" This is the first state Assembly in Manipur which will have thehonour of completing full five years term," Mr Faizi said adding that,"this is where we want to we claim the credit." Manipur had always adifferent political scenario in the valley and the hills whereas theCongress would try to register its presence in both the regions." Weare confident to win maximum number of seats in the valley." In thepost- poll scenario- both the Congress and the CPI are promising astable government even on the basis of present alignments.

UP whose elections have been de-linked from these states, had amuch more complicated political arithmetic. Here none of the nationalpolitical parties- either the BJP or the Congress seem to be capturingpower of their own.

The real battle for the Lucknow throne would be between theregional outfits- the SP and the BSP. But they too will be strugglingfor the status of the single largest party in the state assembly thatwill again lead to political realignments in the post poll- scenario.

Interestingly, both may not be adverse to joining the BJP for the sake of power, the Left parties asserted.

The Congress is expecting improvment in its position of 14 MLAs tobecome arbiter between the two outfits. But hurdle is Jan Morcha thattoo claims a share in the secular vote.

Here the problem is that the Left as a whole has not aligned withJan Morcha while the CPI is already in in it combining the CPI(M-L).

The CPI(M) is still to take a firm decision as it has onlyannounced that it would contest on its own but would not join any anti-SP combination.

If Punjab, Uttarakhand and UP throws up hung Houses, it will notonly necessitate re-alignment of forces, but also have repercussions onthe policies and programmes of the Manmohan Singh government, they said.

If Punjab and Uttarakhand the Congress has to seek an outsidesupport of the Left, it would have to pay the price in terms ofeconomic policies." Furthermore it has to look at the Lok Sabha pollsin 2009, to be contested with their tacit or the open support of theLeft.

Similarly, the SP or the BSP whosoever emerges as the single partyhas to either go with the BJP and the NDA for future battles or workfor the so called Third Alternative. Only the final strength in theseelections will determine the line up for 2009 general elections.


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