Lashing out at senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee, who lampooned the emergent Third Front as a group of aspiring prime ministers, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Monday said that the importance of the grouping would be realized by the likes of Mukherjee after the conclusion of the Lok Sabha elections.
“Pranab Mukherjee says he doesn’t know what this Third Front is. At the end of the elections, he will come to know what it is,” said Karat.
While releasing the party manifesto for the forthcoming elections, Karat said: “We don’t form a front. We are discussing with our allies and partners. After the elections, we shall combine the partners to form the government.”
“This Third Front will hopefully emerge after the elections.”
Despite a cross-section of political leaders, including BJP stalwart LK Advani and Congress man Mukherjee, reiterating that the history of democratic politics in the country has no precedent of a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance government at the Center, Karat’s optimism finds acclaim amidst political pundits who say the ploy to contest the Lok Sabha elections as a loose alliance will add regional teeth to the Third Front campaign and break the rhythm of a more ‘Central’ battle between the Congress and the BJP.
Karat used the occasion to clarify that the name Third Front was thrust upon the grouping as it was used and popularized by leaders like Advani and others, he added that the Left parties had never used the name for the amalgam.
“Advani and others popularised the term Third Front,” said Karat while adding that the BJP had no chance of returning to power.
Providing a sneak preview of the Left arsenal he targeted the BJP for attacks on minorities in Karnataka and Orissa.
Responding to queries on if the CPI(M) would join the government if the alliance votes out competition this summer, Karat said: “Hopefully, if such a situation develops, our party central committee will decide.”
Attempted to quell speculations surrounding AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, Karat said she was in “constant communication” and involved with the non-Congress, non-BJP alliance.
Speculations were rife on Sunday as Jayalalithaa did not attend a meeting of the Third Front on Sunday, AIADMK Rajya Sabha member V Maithreyan stood in her place.
Maithreyan was conspicuously missing from the dinner hosted for front leaders by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati.
Though Karat played down the Jayalalitha factor, the AIADMK is a tough customer especially this time around as indications suggest the party may well be on its way to better poll showings in Tamil Nadu, where key Congress aide and UPA constituent DMK faces burgeoning anti-incumbencies for failing to push the Center into negotiating peace for Sri Lankan Tamils caught in the war zone.
In recent months Jayalalitha has publicly sent out feelers to the Congress, which snubbed her advances and stood by the DMK.
Karat, a vociferous opponent of the India-US defence framework agreement, said that deal would be scrapped if the Third Front was voted into power at the Center.
He also said a government formed by the alliance will also review and re-work the India-US civil nuclear deal inked by the Manmohan Singh government that proved to be the proverbial last straw and broke the back of Left support for the Congress.
Karat says all members of the new grouping are committed to fight off the India-US civil nuclear agreement.