May 14, 2009

We are in touch with all parties, says Buddhadeb

KOLKATA: It is too early to comment on who is going to support whom and, at present efforts are on to form a government without the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here on Monday.

The Chief Minister was responding to scribes’ queries on whether the Left would consider supporting the Congress in government formation.

“We are maintaining contact with all political parties ….We are not running after any political leader. We are busy trying to formulate a programme for an alternative government at the Centre,” he said.

On whether there were differences within the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on the issue of supporting a Congress-led government, he said: “We want to tell you there are no such lines like a [rest of] India line or a Bengal line. We belong to the same party and follow the same tactical line.”

On CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat’s reported remark that there was no question of supporting a Congress-led government, he said it was a “pre-election position” of the CPI(M).

He said: “We are just now trying to defeat both the Congress and the BJP and do not want to send a wrong signal that could confuse people…At this moment we are not trying to form a Left government in the strict sense of the term. We are trying to form a front with like-minded parties; of course the Left will play a leading role in it.”

“If we can play a meaningful role then we will decide whether or not to join the government. The road is open”, he said. On the possibility of him becoming the next prime minister if such a situation arose, he said: “I am working in this State. Going to Delhi is not on my mind.”

Mr. Bhattacharjee expressed doubts on whether the Trinamool Congress would remain in alliance with the Congress after the elections. It could not be presumed that the Trinamool Congress would be part of the government if the Congress is in a position to lead one at the Centre.

“I asked Pranabda whether your partner will be with you after a month. I could not get any positive response,” he said.

“There is no critical mention of the BJP in its [Trinamool’s] election manifesto. Neither BJP leader L. K. Advani had made any reference to the Trinamool leader in any of his speeches during his campaign in the State,” Mr. Bhattacharjee pointed out.

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