The Left parties will meet in New Delhi on June 21 to take stock of the political developments and finalise their decision on the presidential elections. The elections to the post of Vice-President may also figure during the discussions, according to D. Raja, national secretary of the Communist Party of India.
He told The Hindu in Bangalore on Sunday that “the Left parties — the CPI(M), the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Bloc — command around 5 per cent of the votes in the presidential elections and have not taken any decision. We will meet and will go together and let there be no doubt on that. The reportage in the print and electronic media that the Left parties have extended support to the UPA candidate is only speculation as of today.”
Mr. Raja was here to call on Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Deve Gowda (who is ailing) and wish him a speedy recovery. They spent time discussing politics and the coming elections to the Karnataka Assembly, particularly with reference to reports that the elections are likely to be held six months ahead of the scheduled end of term of the present Assembly.
The JD(S), which has about one per cent of the votes in the presidential elections, has already extended support to the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee, apparently following a telephone call from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Mr. Deve Gowda.
Dr. Singh is also stated to have called up senior CPI leader A.B. Bardhan and requested him for the CPI's support in the elections.
Mr. Raja is of the view that in a democracy there is nothing wrong if there is a contest for the post of the President, if a consensus cannot be reached, as has been the case in several elections in the past.
The Left parties together have a strength of 24 members in the Lok Sabha and 14 members in the Rajya Sabha apart from the MLA's in the Assemblies of several States. The strength that the Left parties command is a shade higher than that of the Trinamool Congress.