Post elections, regional parties will call the shots, says CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy. In an exclusive interview to Express Chief of Bureau Anil S, Reddy says Congress president Rahul Gandhi has failed to prevail upon groups to bring in a winning electoral understanding or adjustment.
Q: Congress was not able to form a democratic secular platform. Is that why there is no pre-poll alliance?
A: From the beginning, our party and the Left as a whole have maintained that a pre-poll alliance is not possible. There should be a one-to-one contest against the BJP in as many constituencies as possible. We were expecting direct fights with the BJP in around 350-400 out of the 540 constituencies. But more than 200 constituencies now have multiple contests.
Q: Don’t you think this will give more bargaining power to the regional parties?
A: The Congress has failed to build a proper understanding with several of the secular parties like the AAP in Delhi or the BSP-SP in North India, which in turn kept the Congress out of the alliance in Uttar Pradesh. Congress is still controlled by groups in states and Rahul Gandhi failed to encash on pivotal electoral alliances and adjustments. The writing on the wall is clear. With more than 36 per cent votes, the regional parties will call the shots after the polls.
Q: If the BJP emerges as the single largest party, regional parties and alliances like the SP-BSP could migrate to the NDA. Your comments.
A: Going by their pre-poll campaign, it’s not going to happen. But they are sure to bargain hard with the Congress.
Q: If the Congress emerges as the single largest party, do you think it would lead the coalition like in 2004?
A: Doubtful. The Congress has not gone for an alliance in any state except in Orissa, where it only has a slight presence. In TN and Bihar, it is mere junior partners. In Bengal, there was a possibility of a front, but maybe because of the corporates, it decided not to have an understanding with the Left.
Q: The Left too finds itself out of the Mahagadbandhan.
A: An alliance was in fact possible. It is for the first time the BSP has even agreed to a pre-poll alliance, but it does tend to undermine all other parties.
Q: If no party gets a majority, what could be the next probable move?
A: A fractured verdict is highly probable with no absolute majority for any party. If Congress does not move carefully, it could face issues as the administration is in BJP hands, with even the President belonging to that party.
Q: Would you consider supporting the Congress in such a scenario?
A: We would, but only after considering all angles. In constituencies where we have candidates, we ask people to vote for us. In places where we don’t, we exhort the masses to vote for the strongest candidate who can defeat the BJP.
Q: Do you think Rahul Gandhi should have avoided contesting against the CPI in Wayanad?
A: The fight is against Modi. But Rahul was suddenly pitted against us. That doesn’t bode well. As the Congress president and someone desirous of leading the anti-BJP front, Rahul ought to have avoided contesting from Kerala.
Q: Your take on Kerala scenario.
A: Given the strong performance by the LDF Government, people are sure to support the Left front. Even in the post-Sabarimala scenario, I believe Keralites do comprehend that religion and politics are different. A Sabarimala impact will be felt, but the Left government’s performance is sure to outweigh it.
Q: Do you think Rahul could emerge as the PM candidate?
A: To be frank, I have my doubts. That the Congress failed to bring together all regional parties is surprising.
Q: Do you consider Rahul to be political mature enough to be the Prime Minister?
A: If Narendra Modi can become the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi too deserves to be. It’s not a question of whether he is capable or not. But impulsive decisions like contesting from Wayanad does give one doubts.
Q: Could someone from the Left make it to the top post?
A: No. We are not for joining the government. We won’t have the sufficient number. Even if we support the government, we prefer to play the role of a creative Opposition.