BJP will gain in Congress strongholds: Prakash Karat

By Priyanka,

New Delhi : The BJP will dominantly gain in this Lok Sabha election in areas where the Congress has traditionally held sway, said CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat.

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He also dismissed as a “Delhi-centric view of the media” that the Communist Party of India-Marxist had not grown as rapidly as the Aam Aadmi Party despite taking up issues against corruption.

Asked how the Bharatiya Janata Party will fare in the polls now underway, Karat told IANS in an interview: “The BJP will make gains mainly in the states where it is the main force against the Congress.”

But the CPI-M general secretary insisted that the anti-Congress mood “will be garnered by a range of other parties in different parts of the country”. These, he said, would include regional parties, the Left and “non-Congress secular parties”.

Asked about difficulties of forming a Third Front government, he said that “it is the question of putting together a disparate group of non-Congress, non-BJP parties”.

“We have some experience in the past — in 1989 and 1996. We can build on that,” he added.

In 1989, the CPI-M and other Left parties propped up Prime Minister V.P. Singh’s National Front government, which also had the backing of the BJP.

In 1996, the Left played a key role in the formation of the United Front governments of H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral which enjoyed the legislative backing of the Congress.

While the CPI took part in the United Front government, the CPI-M refused to lead it when the coalition’s members offered prime ministership to veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu.

Karat who is currently on a campaign tour of Tamil Nadu was critical of AAP for being “unable to spell out a coherent socio-economic programme”.

“You can’t be anti-establishment and be still for neo-liberal policies and then be an anti-corruption movement,” Karat told IANS.

On being asked why the CPI-M could not replicate AAP’s stunning debut in Indian electoral politics, winning 28 seats in December assembly polls, he said: “The AAP cannot substitute the Left in India.”

Karat said the Left has emerged as a strong force in regions due to its working class and peasant movements.

He reiterated his views that the Congress will suffer its worst defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. His reasons: “Presiding over a system of loot and plunder; inflicting high inflation, failure to generate employment and massive corruption.”

Furthermore, he attributes the rise of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as a response to discontent engendered by “unbearable price rise, farmers distress and employment” being “utilised by the rightwing forces”.

Karat accuses Modi of being “backed by big business and corporates” who feel Modi will perpetuate policies that will benefit them.

(Priyanka can be contacted at [email protected])