The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Basu expects Congress to recant

Calcutta, Aug. 5: Jyoti Basu said today he expects the Congress to offer an explanation that the economic policies launched by its former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao were “causing hardship to people”.

Basu said the Congress was showing signs of adopting a new and acceptable approach as evident from its willingness to forge a coalition of secular and democratic forces to take on the BJP-led NDA.

“It is good that the party has departed from its go-solo stand and embraced the concept of coalitions. However, that is not enough. What is needed from it is an unequivocal statement that the economic policies adopted by it were wrong and that the party would correct itself if it got another opportunity at the Centre,” Basu said.

Many CPM officials believe the Congress leadership is working on structuring such a statement to forge Opposition unity.

“As is the case, we cannot hope to take on the BJP without the Congress; but we must have a prior explanation from it as to why it followed such disastrous economic policies,” Basu said.

He said the CPM would support the Congress across the country, barring the Left-ruled Bengal and Tripura as well as Kerala, where the CPM is a major force. “Our support for the Congress will be only in the five states where elections are due this year-end. In Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, the relationship between the two parties will not change in any manner,” he added.

If a Congress-led combine came to power at the Centre, Basu said, the CPM would support it from outside, for which it would not have to join a core committee likely to be formed to advise the coalition. “Joining the coalition or a core committee is out of the question; our main objective is to defeat the BJP in the election,” Basu said.

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