Karat softens stand on Cong

Differences within CPI(M) over the strategy to take on the BJP appears to be narrowing down with the Politbureau member Prakash Karat now indicating a softening of his stand against the Congress.

Karat has said in an interview to a web portal, thecitizen.in, that his party considers the BJP "politically far more dangerous" than the Congress and would be "very careful not to divide votes unnecessarily", especially in Karnataka that is going to polls in the first half of 2018.

He said the CPI(M) does not have a policy of equidistance.

He was quoted saying, "Although the Congress and BJP have the same class character we consider the BJP that is an extension of the RSS, to be more dangerous politically and they are in power. So we don't say both have to be fought equally, they are not equal dangers,"

This is seen in political circles as softening of the anti-Congress stand vigorously taken by Karat and his supporters against CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury's argument for working out "suitable" electoral tactics to achieve the objective of ousting the BJP from power "without entering into an alliance or Front with any bourgeois party".

Yechury did not want to close doors for any local understanding with Congress while the Karat faction wants a specific mention about having no relationship with the Congress.

His comments came three weeks ahead of CPI(M) Central Committee meeting in Kolkata to finalise the draft Political Resolution for the Party Congress in Hyderabad in April this year.

In the interview, Karat explained that Karnataka is the only south Indian state where the BJP has strength to make a bid for power and there the CPI(M) "will be very careful not to divide votes unncessarily and will ensure our candidates are only put up with other Left forces only, in a limited number of seats".

He went on to say that where the Congress is the principal party force against the BJP, like in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Left would fight only a limited number of seats. They will campaign to defeat the BJP to create a climate among the people that this has to be done, and that will help maximise the polling of anti-BJP votes, he added.

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