Karat at the news conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. Picture by Prem Singh
New Delhi, Sept. 19: CPM general secretary Prakash Karat today said the UPA government had no right to continue in office if it did not roll back its “anti-people” decisions but shied away from any talk of early elections.
“Nobody is saying we will pull down the government,” Karat said when asked whether the CPM would prefer an alternative government or an election.
The CPM chief was unwilling to entertain any questions on snap polls, avoiding a direct answer when asked what the Left would do to dislodge the government if it refused a rollback.
“Let the TMC first withdraw support. Many things will follow after that. We will wait and see. Why jump the gun?” he said, asked if his party was ready to face an election.
CPM insiders said the party was worried about its performance in strongholds Bengal and Kerala and did not relish the prospect of the fall of the UPA government. In Bengal, particularly, leaders feel that the party organisation is in tatters.
At the same time, however, the CPM cannot afford to be seen as coming to the Centre’s rescue given the party’s strong stand against FDI in retail, diesel price hike, cap on subsidised cooking gas cylinders and divestment of public sector units.
“Unless the government rolls back these anti-people measures, it has no right to continue in office,” Karat said.
But in its fight against the “neo-liberal” policies of the UPA government, the CPM also has to take care that it does not pave the way for the BJP’s return to power.
At the politburo meeting today, some members said the party should tread cautiously since the BJP would stand to benefit if the government fell. “The BJP desperately wants an early election,” said a CPM leader, stressing the party should take this into account.
Party leaders said they would find it difficult to back a no-confidence motion against the government pushed by the BJP and did not see the government seeking a confidence vote on its own.
Seeking to sidestep these difficult issues, Karat sought to pat himself on the back for getting eight parties together to protest against the “anti-people” measures of the government.
“At present, we are focused on the all-India protest day call given by eight parties. After this we will discuss and decide about our future strategy,” Karat said.
The CPM chief also called upon Mamata Banerjee to support their strike call.
“Since the Trinamul has come out strongly against FDI in retail and other decisions of the government, they should support the Left Front’s bandh. Why are they opposing? On this issue they have joined us and so they should support,” he said.