The objective is to build a Left and democratic alternative

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday said a third alternative did not figure in its road map and its task was to defeat both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party to achieve its declared objective of building a Left and democratic alternative.

“The draft political resolution has set out the task of fighting the neo-liberal policies and the communal forces. This requires the defeat of the Congress and the BJP,” the party said in a statement.

Talking to journalists on the second day of the 20th Party Congress, general secretary Prakash Karat said the document neither mentioned a third alternative, nor wanted to create a third front. Left and democratic forces would be rallied to form an anti-Congress and anti-BJP coalition on issues and policies through co-operation and joint actions.

The party said it had to conduct a sustained people's struggle against price rise, issues affecting farmers and farm workers, exploitation of workers of the organised and unorganised sectors and unemployment.

It should also champion the cause of Dalits, adivasis, women and minorities and launch a campaign against social oppression, and for social justice. “The party has to strengthen Left unity and… [forge] a Left and democratic alternative. Such a … front is the only alternative to the current bourgeois-landlord order,” the statement said.

The party also decided to cooperate with secular Opposition parties and regional parties on people's issues, in defence of federalism and secularism.

On Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's absence from the meeting, Mr. Karat said the former West Bengal Chief Minister had informed the party, through a letter, of his inability to travel on health grounds. The Central Committee granted him leave of absence.

In its political review since the 2008 Coimbatore Congress, the report dealt with issues, including the withdrawal of the party's support to the UPA government in July 2008, the line it took during the 2009 general election, and how the tasks set for the party by the last Congress were implemented, Mr. Karat said.

Some mistakes

The party had made some mistakes, including in West Bengal, and there was a view that it should have withdrawn support to the Manmohan Singh-led government earlier than 2008, he said.

Mr. Karat also regretted that the Left could not prevent the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal.

He, however, justified the decision support the Congress-led government in 2004, arguing that given the situation obtained then, it was the only way to keep the BJP away from power. “Our support gave the Congress legitimacy but that cannot be helped.”

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