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A third front should not be a mere electoral front: CPI(M)

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JAN. 6. With the Samajwadi Party consistently raising the need for a third political alternative in the country, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) today articulated the party's stand stating that it should be built around two basic issues — opposition to communalism and against anti-people economic policies — and not be a mere electoral front.

It said any talk of a third front as a means for political/electoral manoeuvring at the Centre without objectives could provide scope and space for the communal forces to seek to return to the centre-stage, which could not be permitted.

Asserting that the CPI(M) had been advocating and continued to work for a viable non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party/communal combination as a political alternative, the party said it did not visualise this as a mere electoral front.

People's struggles

It said the 17th party congress had concluded that such a front would have to be forged on the basis of people's sustained struggles and movements. "These movements, in turn, will have to be built around the two basic issues confronting the Indian people, which means in opposition to communalism and against the anti-people economic policies. The latter, naturally, also means taking principled anti-imperialist positions. The third front, therefore, will have to be built on the strength of such joint struggles. Also, it is such a front that will emerge as a viable, credible and sustainable electoral alternative. And it is such a third front that the CPI(M) is striving for,'' an editorial in the latest issue of the party organ, People's Democracy, said.

The party noted that many political parties advance the slogan of a third front purely in electoral terms. It said many constituents of the former United Front displayed rank opportunism by abandoning the anti-communal platform to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance to share the spoils of power. In special reference to the Telugu Desam, the CPI(M) said it not only abandoned the secular forces but went on to implement, at the behest of the World Bank, pro-imperialist, anti-people economic policies.

Besides this, it said the experience of the People's Front must also be kept in mind. The CPI(M) said that during the last Presidential election, this effort was disrupted, with the Samajwadi Party deciding to back the BJP/NDA candidate. "Any front that confines itself to political manoeuvring and electoral bargaining does not meet the CPI(M)'s desired objective. For the CPI(M), the third front, forged on the basis of joint people's struggles, is the instrument that, while steadfastly defending the interests of the people and country, will contribute to a progressive shift in Indian politics.''

Seeking allies

It said that while working for such a front based on joint popular struggles on a pro-people agenda, the party would seek allies to keep communal forces at bay and away from the control of state power. "It is with express objective that the CPI(M) and its allies extend outside support to the present UPA Government at the Centre and to the Samajwadi Party Government in Uttar Pradesh. Likewise, the party seeks to ally with regional secular parties in Bihar and Jharkhand, States where Assembly elections are in the offing.

The party said that given the political arithmetic of the 14th Lok Sabha, there was no other alternative at the current conjecture in the country but to support the UPA Government to keep communal forces at bay. But it felt that the growth of popular discontent against the anti-people economic policies was bound to reflect in mightier struggles and that the CPI(M) would champion the discontent through united struggles.

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