NATIONAL

CPI(M) not keen on common agenda

N. Chandrababu Naidu (left) has sought the expertise of Sitaram Yechury to draft a common programme.PTI  

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, who is playing the role of a facilitator to bring Opposition parties together, wants CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to lend his expertise in preparing a common minimum programme (CMP) for the Opposition parties.

Ahead of the Opposition meet in Delhi, now scheduled for Wednesday, the TDP chief reached out to Mr. Yechury who had played a key role in drafting the CMP when the UPA took shape in 2004 and the United Front in 1996. Apart from the CMP, the Opposition meet is likely to discuss the political situation since the Pulwama attack.

Mr. Yechury declined to be part of any CMP drafting exercise, though the issue of attending the meet has been left open.

Past experience

“I told Mr. Naidu that such an exercise will be more fruitful only after the election. That is how the CMPs were drafted on earlier occasions, be it UPA or United Front,” Mr. Yechury told The Hindu . Another senior Opposition leader said a CMP would not find much acceptance among voters when the parties were fighting each other.

“There are too many internal contradictions. The Left is ranged against the Trinamool in Bengal and against the Congress in Kerala. The TDP and the Congress have parted ways in Andhra after their Telangana experiment failed. Why should the voters take your CMP seriously,” he asked.

On February 13, senior Opposition leaders including Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Mr. Naidu, along with others met, at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s Delhi residence.

They had agreed to work on a common minimum programme as the the next step in forging the anti-BJP front ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. “The CMP will be important in case of a hung Parliament. Parties which are signatories to the CMP will have to be considered pre-poll allies and the President will have to invite such a group if they have higher numbers than the NDA,” said a senior Congress leader.