CPI-M taps secular forces in UPA; options open, NCP tells Congress


New Delhi : While the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) Thursday revealed that it was in touch with “secular democratic forces” within the United Progressive Alliance, the Nationalist Congress Party sought to goad the Congress to fight the Lok Sabha polls jointly by saying that it has “other options”.

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“We are in touch with all the secular democratic forces within the UPA as part of our efforts to form a third viable alternative at the centre,” CPI-M politburo member M.K. Pandhe told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

Pandhe’s revelation came a day after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar claimed in Pune that the Left parties are willing to have electoral understanding with the UPA’s secular partners.

The Left parties snapped ties with the UPA on the India-US nuclear deal issue in July last year.

NCP general secretary D.P. Tripathi said Thursday the party will consider other options in the states where it fails to form alliance with the Congress, if the latter is unwilling to contest the elections collectively under the UPA.

“Why should we (the UPA allies) contest elections separately? We are the ruling alliance,” Tripathi said, talking to IANS. He appealed to the Congress to fight the polls collectively.

“We do not demand more seats from the Congress party,” he said, adding the party should get its due according to its strength in different states.

“We have already stated that we would contest only 50-55 seats,” Tripathi said.

“There are many other options open,” he said.

He, however, said a formal discussion with the CPI-M leaders on the alliance has not been held so far.