The Left Front leadership – architects of a Third Front, on Sunday warned the people against being lured by the “double laddoo” offer of a Modi-Mamata combination in the Lok Sabha polls. “You will regret if you go for the Modi laddoo in one hand ( Modi government at the centre) and the Mamata laddoo (state government) in the other, said CPI(M) politburo member and former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at a mammoth Brigade Parade Ground rally today in Kolkata.
Party general secretary Prakash Karat also warned of a possible Modi-Mamata alliance at the Centre after the elections.
“Here from this ground Narendra Modi ji has invited Mamata ji to have an alliance with the BJP. She was a minister in the Vajpayee government from 1999 to 2001 and in 2002 Modi became chief minister of Gujarat. After that she became a minister again in the Vajpayee government. Then in 2009 she became an ally of the Congress. Now her turn has again come to join hands with BJP, which she will do,” Karat said at the rally, attended by at least 3 lakh people.
By raising the name of Modi repeatedly and by aligning Mamata Banerjee with the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, the Left speakers obviously pitched for the huge Muslim electorate from West Bengal (over 28%) for their share of votes.
Karat also said that there was no distinction in the economic policies of the Congress and the BJP while vouching that the Third Front mooted by the Left will give people a viable alternative.
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One striking feature of the rally was that the speakers were evidently soft on the Congress and spared it from much criticism. The Congress leadership like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi’s names virtually did not feature in the speeches of the Left leaders, while Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee were distinctly the prime targets of the attack.
Criticising Modi for his statement that a Third Front government would be a third rate government, Karat said it would be just the other way round.
“Third is above second and a Third front Government, which we are working on, will in fact be a first rate one. We will see where Modi will be after elections, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. We will meet after the Parliament session, finalise our policies and place them before the people soon,” Karat said.
Further, Karat said that Modi’s Gujarat Model would spell disaster for the country. “They gave all benefits to big industries and the poor suffered. That is the Gujarat model. Two thousands Muslims died in the riots of 2002. That is Gujarat model. People should be cautious of this model,” Karat said.
It was here on February 5 that Narendra Modi addressed a massive rally in which he exhorted people to vote for him so that he could work for the people of Bengal from Delhi, while Mamata would continue from here.
Blaming the TMC government for the lawlessness in the state, Karat said his head hung in shame when he hears about atrocities meted out to women in Bengal. “Here not only the honour of women is looted, votes are also looted,” Karat said.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose, in his speech blamed Mamata for helping Jamat-e-Islami of Bangladesh indirectly and thus weakening secular forces of that country.
“She did not accompany Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh to sign the Teesta accord. She also did not sign the accord on enclaves. All these weakened the hands of Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina and strengthened the Jamat,” Bose said.
Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly and politburo member Suryakanta Mishra issued a ‘chargesheet’ against the state government alleging it had failed in all fronts. He alleged that Mamata was just squandering public money away and she would have to answer for that.
Other Left leaders also alleged that funds of Sharada Group are now with the ruling party, which was using them to indulge in horse-trading, like the one that took place during the Rajya Sabha elections on February 7. Mukul Roy, the Trinamool Congress general secretary however, described the day’s Brigade rally of the Left Front as “directionless” and “meaningless”.