K.V. Prasad and W. Chandrakanth

He points to by-election result and cohesion in the party and UDF

CPI, RSP oppose Karunakaran's tie-up with LDF Congress will explain coalition compulsions "Left has realised there is no scope for third front"

HYDERABAD: KeralaChief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday said the presence of the nascent Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) would not undermine the prospects of the Congress in the coming Assembly elections.

He pointed to the results of the recent Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha by-election, in which the Congress got 85,000 votes more than what it polled when Mr. K. Karunakaran was in the party. Moreover, his move to share a platform with the Left Democratic Front was being opposed by its two allies, the Communist Party of India and the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

Mr. Chandy, who is here to take part in the All-India Congress Committee plenary, told The Hindu that the party was now speaking with one voice, which was not the case when Mr. Karunakaran was in the organisation. There was greater cohesion in the working of not only the party and all its frontal organisations but also the Congress-led United Democratic Front.

"BJP counts for little"

As for the Bharatiya Janata Party, he said even though it had a negligible presence in the State, the BJP would prefer to support the LDF in line with its overall objective of opposing the Congress and its president, Sonia Gandhi.

Mr. Chandy said the UDF was confident of explaining to the people coalition compulsions, which made the Congress take the support of the Left parties at the Centre and oppose them in Kerala and West Bengal.

The Left, which in the past "committed [the] serious mistake" of opposing the Congress and Rajiv Gandhi leading to the growth of the BJP, was now supporting the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance at the Centre to keep that party out, he said.

"The Left parties have realised there is no scope for a third front and even though they are not in favour of the Congress they have to keep up secular politics."

Policy disagreement

On the frequent disagreement with the Left over economic policies, Mr. Chandy said the Congress was always pro-poor and would carry out reforms humanely.

"The Left parties are not practical. They only raise slogans. The world has changed and we have to try and avail ourselves of the chances that come our way in these days of globalisation," he said.