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2009 is not going to be 2004, says Karat

Source: PTI
February 27, 2009 17:43 IST
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The CPI-M today indicated that it was trying to lure some United Progressive Alliance constituents for its "secular alternative" and ruled out supporting the Congress in the post-Lok Sabha poll scenario.

Signalling the Left's keenness to exploit the Congress' reservation over a national-level pre-poll tie-up with allies, party general secretary Prakash Karat said the party was keenly watching the emerging scenario after the Congress indicated its stand.

The Congress has said there would not be UPA in the elections.

"This signals that the constituents are free to move in tune with the circumstances prevailing in each state. The Left is keenly watching this scenario, Karat said in an interview to the CPI-M's mouthpiece Deshabhimani.

After assessing the existing political equations in each state, the Left would take appropriate decisions on relations with the UPA partners, he said.

Dismissing chances of the Left supporting the Congress after the polls, he said "2009 is not going to be 2004".

The non-Congress secular alliance has already been forged in most major states, Karat said adding, he was confident that this front would become broad-based and stronger to take on the Congress and the BJP.

"After the elections, we will come to know who is going to be compelled to support whom. We don't see a situation where Left would be forced to support Congress," Karat said.

The Left was trying to bring non-Congress secular parties on common platform on three core political themes -- pro-people economic policies, secularism and independent foreign policy, he said.

"If this strategy proves successful, the result will be a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the Centre," he said.

On tie-ups already worked out, he said the Left parties, TDP and TRS would stay together in Andhra Pradesh but it was too early to "say something" about the strength of Praja Rajyam floated by actor Chiranjeevi.

In Tamil Nadu, the seat-sharing talks with AIADMK was yet to be concluded, he said.

Since PMK has snapped ties with DMK, electoral arrangements would be worked out only after knowing the PMK's stand, he said.

In Bihar, CPI-M, CPI and CPI-ML (Liberation) would fight the polls together. On its own, CPI-M has decided to contest 80 seats but it could go up when the electoral arrangements are worked out in all states, he said.

The party's poll manifesto will be finalized by the central committee meeting on March 7 and 8, whose thrust would be 'alternative proposals to neo-liberal policies,' Karat said.

Each Left party will have its separate manifesto but they would place a joint appeal before the people before the polls. The need for a set of alternative policies had become all the more necessary in view of the challenges posed by the global downturn,he said.

It was essential to have a government at the Centre which will mobilise resources through taxes and other means and enhance spending on areas like education and health care, he said.

It was also important to strengthen the public distribution system to take care of the basic needs of people. If all these alternative policies have to be carried out, it was necessary to end dependence on United States, he added.

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