Left won’t say no to a third front with Cong: Bardhan

Written by Ruhi Tewari | New Delhi | Published:May 15, 2014 12:51 am

The Left Front will not object to a Congress-backed third front after the Lok Sabha poll verdict is out if the situation arises, senior CPI leader A B Bardhan on Wednesday said and left it to the Congress to take a call.

He indicated it depended on seats the BJP wins, which will be clear on May 16.

“BJP will, of course, emerge the biggest party but I doubt it will reach the halfway mark…for a third front to be viable, a common ideology is not necessary. It is enough to have a common programme…It is for Congress to decide if it wants to back such a front if the situation arises. The Left will have no objection,” Bardhan told The Indian Express, and added there could be no speculation until the numbers are out on Friday.

He said the Congress is an “old and mature” party that could take its own decision.

The Left front which has 24 seats in the outgoing 15th Lok Sabha and supported the Congress-led UPA-I in its first term and withdrew support in 2008 over the Indo-US nuclear deal. The Left did not support UPA-II, and in the run-up to the 16th Lok Sabha polls, tried to bring together non-Congress, non-BJP parties to forge a “secular alternative”.

The Left has not drawn any post-poll strategy yet and is waiting for numbers. “There is no game plan as of now. All games and plans will start after figures are out on Friday,” he said.

Bardhan, however, said if the BJP-led NDA gets over 220 seats, they would be unstoppable since some “fence-sitters” would offer support. “Right now, one can’t say whether BJP will be restricted or a third front will be viable,” he said.

CPI Central Secretariat is scheduled to meet two days after results to discuss the course of action. The CPM politburo will also meet the same day, following which Left parties will meet to discuss strategies.

Bardhan said the Left had expected to do better than in 2009 but the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in West Bengal resorted to terror tactics making a mockery of democracy. He said BJP votes would go up even in Left bastions Kerala and West Bengal, largely owing to vote polarization. Calling outgoing PM Manmohan Singh a good man whose personal integrity is unquestionable, Bardhan said it was his own party that did not consider him “a leader” in the true sense.

Left protests rigging, wants repoll in 3,200 Bengal booths

Seeking fresh polls immediately in 3,200 booths, Left parties held a rally against Trinamool Congress for alleged rigging of Lok Sabha elections in TMC-ruled West Bengal. Left Front leaders participated in a rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. “In the 3rd, 4th and 5th phases of elections, around 3,200 polling booths were rigged by TMC workers. Voters were threatened, assaulted and shot at by goons of TMC, to prevent from casting their votes. Since TMC came to power, malpractice is repeatedly being adopted in every poll by TMC,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said addressing the rally. Karat said Left parties want fresh polling immediately in around 3,200 booths. PTI

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