The Telegraph
Saturday , July 27 , 2013
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Karat betrays election loss fears

New Delhi, July 26: Prakash Karat today said the results of the “rigged” panchayat polls “can only be a distorted one”, virtually conceding defeat even before the results are declared and betraying fears of a poor performance in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

“The results of the panchayat elections will not be an expression of the will of the people. It is the most violent and rigged election in Bengal. The results of such a rigged election can only be a distorted one,” the CPM general secretary said a day after the five-phase rural elections ended.

Told that a recent poll survey had predicted a Left defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, Karat told a news conference in Delhi: “The findings of the surveys do not reflect the ground reality. But if rigging of this kind takes place, then what can be said.”

Karat denied allegations of rigging during the Left rule and said that in the seven panchayat elections held during the 34-year period, the Opposition had won 40 per cent of the seats on average.

“Had we rigged, the Opposition would not have won 40 per cent of the seats,” he said, adding that his allegations of “state-sponsored” rigging by the Trinamul Congress would be proved right when the panchayat election results are declared. “Wait and see the results and then everything would be clear,” Karat said.

The CPM’s internal assessments have revealed that an “early turn-around” because of the “failures” of the Trinamul government will not take place and the Left cannot hope to increase its Lok Sabha tally. The CPM is hoping that the party will win a decent number of seats in Kerala in 2014.

Based on the assessments, the CPM is planning to strike seat-sharing deals with regional parties to better its prospects in the Lok Sabha polls. The desperation to win a considerable number of seats has gained urgency as the Left apprehends that the efforts to forge a third front of non-Congress, non-BJP parties would play a crucial role in the formation of the next government at the Centre.

Karat rejected the possibility of the Left backing a Congress-led government after next year’s elections but evaded a direct reply on whether the Left was open to taking the party’s support for a 1996-like third front government.

“The situation is very different now. Let us see what happens,” he said when asked about the 1996 model in which the Congress had supported a United Front government.

“After nine years of misrule, we want the Congress and the UPA defeated. There is no question of supporting it,” Karat added.