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Karat: Third Front idea was unrealistic
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 22
The CPM’s month-long introspection of the electoral reverses it suffered in the recent general election ended today, with the party think tank virtually sidestepping the major national decisions it took to primarily blame state-specific factors for the debacle.

It explained the losses in terms of voters’ anti-BJP sentiment and their urge for the Congress’ stable and secular government. “Our main base is intact as we have lost only 0.33 per cent of the vote share,” argued a party on redemption path.

In fact, its central committee, the highest decision making body, gave a thumbs-up to the two most controversial decisions the CPM took in the run up to polls - withdrawal of support to UPA on the nuke deal issue and the call for a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative. The latter it even vowed to keep striving for.

Defending the decisions as “correct and necessary”, a defeat-struck party only sheepishly admitted that whereas it did well to call for a third alternative, it should not have extended the call to the formation of a third front government because of its alternative lacking in terms of both reach and national policy. “That’s why the third front failed as a credible and viable alternative at the national level and remained unrealistic,” the party felt.

Voicing this conclusion officially was CPM’s hitherto evasive general secretary Prakash Karat, who faced the media today for the first time since the party’s worst defeat at the hustings. Somewhat recovered from his losses, which were proceeded by embarrassing allegations of “narcissism” leveled by veterans like Somnath Chatterjee, Karat looked confident and geared for all storms.

So when asked if he would accept individual responsibility for the reverses, he declined outright.

The committee for its part was not as sparing in its dissection of state-wise performances as it was when reviewing the national-level decisions, with Karat declaring, “We have to be careful about the conduct and style of functioning of our leaders in both West Bengal and Kerala.”

The split between CPM’s Bengal unit and central leadership was also evident, with the committee squarely blaming shortcomings in the working of Budhhadeb government, municipalities and panchayats, and the government’s aggressive industrialisation policy for setbacks. “The committee is for reworking Bengal’s industrial policy,” said Karat, admitting that apprehensions on account of land acquisition needed to be removed.

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