NATIONAL

Country headed for 1996 situation: Karat

Prakash Karat

Prakash Karat  

CHENNAI, APRIL 24. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member, Prakash Karat, said today that all secular parties, including the Left parties, the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, which fought the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha elections, would sit together and collectively work out the arrangement for an alternate government at the Centre after the elections.

He told reporters here that the trend indicated that the country was heading for a situation akin to that which emerged after the 1996 elections when the Opposition parties jointly evolved an alternative arrangement.

Though it would be premature to go into the details now, a broad understanding had emerged among all these parties, he said adding that the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, had also spoken about the possibility of arriving at a common minimum programme.

Mr. Karat denied reports that the Samajwadi Party would join hands with the BJP after the elections. He accused the BJP of trying to "create confusion" among the secular parties in Uttar Pradesh. "The Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, has been working with us and we have regular consultations and contacts with him. The SP is fighting the BJP to defeat it in the State," he said.

Referring to Mr. Vajpayee's remarks at election meetings in the last two days that the BJP would bring in new post-poll allies, he said this was "an admission of weakness." The BJP and its allies had started realising that they were "badly slipping down" and "they could not touch the 272 seats-mark."

Despite the initial hype about the achievements of the Vajpayee Government, the ground realities were coming out as the campaign progressed.

Even in States such as Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, where the BJP and its allies were able to record impressive victories in the last Lok Sabha elections, they were heading for a big defeat now.

In Tamil Nadu also, the situation was not in favour of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-BJP combine, he said.

Claiming that there was "no rule of law in Gujarat under the Narendra Modi Government," Mr. Karat said the CPI (M) had, in its poll campaign, focussed on the `Gujarat experience' since 2002 to caution the people that the country would have to face a similar situation if the BJP secured an absolute majority.

The Prime Minister's appeal to the electorate to give the BJP a single-party majority on the ground that he wanted to "get rid of the headache of running a multi-party coalition Government" and the inclusion of the Ayodhya issue, law to ban cow slaughter and regional autonomy for Jammu and Ladak in the NDA agenda betrayed the BJP's "contempt for its electoral allies", he said.

Mr. Karat said the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu would also be a verdict on the three-year rule of the AIADMK Government which had been "implementing the policies of the NDA regime."

Denying the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa's charge that the CPI (M) was adopting double standards for West Bengal and other States, he said the Left Front Government in West Bengal had been opposing privatisation measures unlike the AIADMK Government, which had broadly accepted the economic policy of the Centre.

The CPI (M) favoured deferment of the exit poll results till the conclusion of the final phase of elections, he added.

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