Left parties have kick-started their pre-poll exercise with their top leaders deciding to woo 'secular' parties in both the United Progressive Alliance and the National Democratic Alliance to join forces and provide an alternative to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
In a bid to present a unified face and not to confuse the cadre, the top brass of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Bloc have decided not to air differences, including those over seat-sharing among them in public and speak in one voice on issues like their stance towards the Congress in case of government formation after the Lok Sabha elections.
The CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat has not ruled out supporting a secular government in which the Congress may be a part but not leading it, but has said it was "unlikely" that such a scenario would emerge.
"I can't rule it out, but it seems unlikely," Karat said in a recent interview.
"The Left is likely to issue a call to the secular forces in the NDA which are perturbed by BJP's Hindutva agenda and parties in UPA which are unhappy with Congress' privatise or perish policy," a senior Left leader said.
"The call will also contain an appeal to general public that why they should reject both the Congress and the BJP", he said.
The central committee is meeting in New Delhi on March 7 and 8 to fine tune the election strategy of the party. The CPI national executive has already met in New Delhi last week.
The CPI-M has already begun a series of public meetings and campaigns in some states, especially those in the Hindi heartland.
In some of these states like Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, the party is likely to put up at least one candidate each.
The effort in these states would be to concentrate the entire state party and mass organisational strength for the success of the candidates, the leader said.
Left leaders have in the recent past held a series of parleys with counterparts from parties like the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Telugu Desam Party and the Janata Dal-Secular.
Apart from this, informal discussions have also been held with regional parties in states like Orissa and Bihar.
Politburo member Sitaram Yechury had recently said, "The Lok Sabha elections should be used as a window of opportunity by creating a political alternative which steers clear of both the Congress and the BJP-led coalitions and ensures a decisive shift in the country's policies."