The Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s mantra of ‘India First’ indicated a growth model that placed corporates first, in light of the huge subsidies doled out to them in Gujarat, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said on Sunday.

“We saw what ‘India First’ mantra meant in Gujarat. There is a consensus among all the big corporates that he should be Prime Minister, because only he will do their work. Lakhs of acres of land has been given to them at subsidised rates, apart from free water and power. This is the Guajarat model Narendra Modi wants to implement in India,” Mr. Karat told a joint convention of the Left parties.

By projecting Mr. Modi as it prime ministerial candidate, the BJP has once again bared its intention to roll out the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) communal agenda, Mr. Karat said.

Referring to the communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and parts of Bihar, he said the BJP and the RSS were fuelling communal tension ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Mr. Karat therefore called for a “secular” alternative of parties with alternative outlook on economic policy.

“The Congress and the BJP are the same where economic policy is concerned. They are together on privatisation and disinvestment. Thus, the BJP cannot be an alternative. The Left has, therefore, decided to form an alternative platform based on policy,” he said.

Asked if the Lok Sabha polls would be a contest between Mr. Modi and Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Karat said, “It is not a presidential election like in the US. People are not going to vote for Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi. They will form their views based on the policies and programmes of political parties. Non-Congress, non-BJP parties will gain more seats in the Lok Sabha elections.”

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the same communal politics that began with Adavni’s yatra was being played out again with Mr. Modi’s elevation.

“The BJP does not want to fight elections on the issue of farmers, labourers or inflation. They want to fight it with a religious agenda and divide the country. On the one hand you have the Congress, whose policies have imperilled the country and the BJP on the other. We therefore seek a change of policy, not just of a party,” Mr. Dasgupta said.

Keywords: BJPModiLeft partiesKarat