The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Laloo stands between Left and Left

New Delhi, Aug. 12: The CPM and the CPI have failed to thrash out a joint electoral strategy for Bihar.

CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan could not persuade his CPM counterpart Prakash Karat against aligning with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

The leaders discussed their differences at a meeting earlier this week, where both sides stuck to their stands.

Bardhan said it would be “wrong” for the Left to go along with Laloo Prasad Yadav who has committed “many sins”. “He also does not honour agreements,” the CPI chief added. The “sins” range from corruption to non-governance.

Karat said the alliance was necessary to defeat the NDA. Laloo Prasad, the principal adversary of the BJP and the NDA, was best suited to take them on, he argued.

Bardhan differed, saying: “It would be much better to be defeated on your own strength rather than go with Laloo.” An alliance with Laloo Prasad is not going to improve the CPM’s tally in Bihar, he added.

The CPM general secretary remained unconvinced. The meeting ended in a stalemate with Bardhan telling Karat his party should “at least not oppose” the Bihar bandh called by the CPI and the CPI(ML) on August 24.

The CPM and the CPI had teamed up with Laloo Prasad in the last Bihar polls. The CPI managed to win three seats, and the CPM one. The biggest share of Left votes ' seven seats ' went to the CPI (ML) Liberation group, which went alone.

According to Bihar CPI leaders, in the last election, the party won where they had contested against Laloo Prasad but lost where they were in an alliance with him. The party’s state unit has always been in favour of going it alone but the central leadership would earlier insist on an alliance and prevail over it.

In the CPM, too, the state unit does not want an alliance with Laloo Prasad but the central leadership is having its way. Politburo members Sitaram Yechury and S.R. Pillai went to Patna and spoke to the local leaders of the need to go with RJD.

The CPI is working for a third front, which will include the CPI(ML) in addition to Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party and Samajwadi Party. The Congress is expected to team up with the RJD and the CPM.

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