Yechury counsels caution on third front

No cut-and-paste alliance for 2014 : CPM leader

Senior CPM leader and politburo member Sitaram Yechury said on Wednesday that “no cut-and-paste alliance” to pass off as a “third front will work in the next general  election.” He also admitted that the alliance cobbled up by Left parties for the 2009 Lok Sabha poll was a “mistake.” 

What was presented to the electorate then as a “third front, lacked both credibility and viability,” Yechury said. The CPM had in its assessment later recognised its “mistake”. It will not be repeated in the next general election, which could come even before 2014, he said. Yechury was responding to queries from audience after speaking on “India’s Experience with Economic Reforms”.

The “cut-and-paste alliance” then did not create confidence among the people, as a result of which the Left had conceded 61 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress, Yechury pointed out.  “The third front” alternative this time should be one that forged an “alternative alliance with an alternative set of programmatic policies”. He also virtually ruled out re-aligning with parties like AIADMK or Bahujan Samaj Party for the next Lok Sabha poll.

He reiterated that “corporate donations” to political parties should be banned, as that was an important source of corruption and influence peddling.  Yechury, to another query, suggested that the structure of “corporate donations” be changed to enable state-funding of elections in India.

Companies, instead of funding political parties, should give that money to either a “corpus” of the Election Commission set up for the purpose or to a separate agency set up by the Centre. That corpus could be then utilised for paving way for “State-funding of elections” as was being done in Germany.

He denied that the CPM had taken any donations from the Tatas. Yechury explained that the Tata Group had a system wherein, in proportion with the “share in the popular vote” secured by each of the recognised political parties, the group accordingly paid out cheques to all of them from their corpus.

But the CPM, which accordingly received a cheque for Rs 6 lakh last year, was the only party to return the cheque to the company. “We returned it to Ratan Tata with thanks” and with the suggestion that if the Tata Group wants to give, it may give the amount to a ‘corpus of the Election Commission’ to enable State-funding of elections,” Yechury said.

The bulk of the CPM fund corpus—Rs 500 crore in the last five years—was from its party MPs and MLAs surrendering a major chunk of their individual salaries to the party, he said.

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