Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat on Wednesday said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) provides no alternative to the neo-liberal policies followed by the Congress and the BJP; instead “it pursues the chimera of being an honest variant of the same’’.

Making his most critical statement on AAP since the party emerged second in the Delhi Assembly elections, Mr. Karat said: “The so-called non-ideological, neither left nor right stand of the AAP is only a cover for a mishmash of policies which do not go outside the neo-liberal framework.’’

He made these observations in an article which will be published in the forthcoming issue of the CPI(M) weekly organ People’s Democracy and is in reaction to the statements made by AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal at a meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Monday.

Also, it comes a day after AAP “ideologue” Yogendra Yadav described the Left parties as a “bunch of opportunists’’ and said his party had no intention of supporting the non-Congress non-BJP front being put together ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Referring to Mr. Kejriwal’s statement that the “government has no business in business’’, Mr. Karat said this “is typical of the neo-liberal outlook which prevails around the world’’; adding that this position is contrary to the AAP leader’s own opposition on privatisation of electricity supply in Delhi. “The criteria he has set out goes even against the stand of the AAP regarding privatisation of water set out in its vision document.’’

As for Mr. Kejriwal drawing a distinction between capitalism and “crony capitalism’’ – maintaining that he was not averse to the former but against the latter – Mr. Karat opined that “here Kejriwal and the AAP are missing, or ignoring the main issue. It is in the nature of the neo-liberal order to spawn crony capitalism on a large scale. It is inherent in the neo-liberal regime which facilitates the loot of natural resources and the making of windfall profits for the big business class as a whole.’’

Further, he pointed out that Mr. Kejriwal’s position of keeping government out of business tantamounts to allowing the private sector to continue exploiting the mineral resources of the country. This position, according to Mr. Karat, ignores the fact that “mining companies of all hues are reaping windfall profits after the mining sector was opened up to private companies’’.