Amid talks of a clutch of regional parties and the Left coming together, CPI veteran A B Bardhan says there is no finality on a front formally taking shape before the elections, and it is not yet time give it a name, work out a common agenda or name a prime ministerial candidate. Excerpts from an interview:
You have entered into an alliance with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. Is your strategy to forge alliances at state level?
With the AIADMK it is more or less a continuation. We have been together before. We are looking at state-specific alliances this time. We are trying in Orissa with Naveen Patnaik. We are trying in Bihar. We are also trying in Assam with the AGP. I can’t say if it will materialise though. There will be an alliance with the JD(S) in Karnataka.
At what stage are the talks with JD(U) in Bihar?
It has not yet reached the stage of identifying the seats. But in principle we have decided to be together.
Many regional parties and the Left are said to be coming together. What will this grouping be like?
I don’t know whether they will come together before the elections. But after the elections, we feel neither the Congress-led UPA nor the BJP-led NDA will be in a position to come to power. Therefore, there will be space for a new combination.
Representatives of these parties are meeting Wednesday. What can be expected?
Tomorrow, it will be about Parliament (strategy), more or less.
Nitish Kumar is talking about a front taking shape.
It remains to be seen. I think it is too early to work out the exact contours.
What kind of exchanges are happening?
At the moment, there are state specific alliances.
So you are not coming together at the national level?
Not yet, but nothing is ruled out. Therefore, I am saying again and again that there is an alternative that is is emerging at the state level. I am not talking about any front. At state level also, you must understand that the alliance is for parliamentary elections.
Will it have a name, a prime ministerial candidate, and will it happen before or after elections?
The name will be given when it is formed. It will happen after elections. At the national level, it is not yet the time either to give it a name or to project any individual as a prime minister candidate, nor to work out a common agenda or programme.
Without a common agenda and a name, won’t it lack credibility?
We are working for an alternative (to Congress and BJP). It may not take shape before the elections. There is a proposal to bring together all 14 parties that attended the convention against communalism in Delhi at a rally in Bangalore later this month.
The TDP, which has been an ally of the Left, is missing, though Chandrababu Naidu has not announced a tie-up with the BJP.
At the moment, he is looking to them.
The NCP attended the convention against communalism. Will NCP be invited to the rally?
I think so. You should keep in mind that the NCP is with the Congress only in Maharashtra.
The least number of women candidates have been fielded by the Congress which has given tickets to just five women contestants.