Two days after the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chose to skip a meeting of 11 non-Congress, non-BJP parties who have come together to form a political alternative, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat Thursday said they were confident the BJD will remain with this alternative and said more regional parties could join in.
“The BJD has made it clear to us it will have nothing to do with either the NDA or the UPA as far as the forthcoming elections are concerned,” Karat told The Indian Express.
He said they were also in talks with some other regional parties who had shown interest in joining this grouping.
The 11 parties, of which BJD and AGP had skipped the meet, had on Tuesday announced they would form a “democratic, secular, federal and pro-people” alternative to fight the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls together.
Karat said this alternative was different from the one the Left had attempted to forge before the 2009 elections since the current group had many more parties and they had evolved broad principles unlike just a short statement issued last time. He also said any concrete shape would emerge only after the elections.
“All our fronts have taken shape only after elections even earlier… Right now we are doing the ground work and evolving a broad understanding pre polls,” Karat said.
Karat expressed confidence at being able to arrive at a “Common Minimum Programme” with this group of parties if and when needed, despite them having different policies on some issues.
He said his party’s campaign pitch, particularly in its bastion of Kerala, would be to portray this loose coalition as an alternative that could fight the Narendra Modi-led BJP in order to counter the perception that Congress is the only force that can stop the BJP.
The market is considered the largest cloth market in Asia and it houses a number of textile units and factories.