CPI(M) to work on maximising anti-BJP votes in LS polls

CPI(M) to work on maximising anti-BJP votes in LS polls

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday said the party's agenda in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls was to maximise the anti-BJP votes in the country and it will work to defeat the saffron party in states where it will be in a direct fight with the Congress.

The Left party would, however, have no alliance with the Congress, he added.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) will field a minimum number of candidates in states where there will be a direct contest between the Congress and the saffron party to maximise the anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) votes, Yechury told reporters here during his one-day visit to Odisha.

It will support regional parties which were not in the government and were opposed to the BJP, he said.

"Our agenda is to maximise the polling of anti-BJP votes in the coming elections. They (BJP) formed government at the Centre by securing only 31 per cent votes the last time, while 69 per cent of the electorate had opposed them. This time, we want to ensure that the secular parties come together to oppose the BJP," Yechury said.

Referring to Odisha, where the Assembly polls are also due next year, he said the Left party will not have a formal alliance with the Congress in the state and will also oppose the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), though it was not an ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

"We will have no alliance with the Congress and at the same time, the party will oppose both the BJP and the BJD in Odisha," Yechury said.

To questions on why the Left party was opposed to Naveen Patnaik's BJD, he said, "We have decided to oppose the BJP and its allies. Though the BJD is not an ally of the BJP, the regional party has unfortunately, all along the last four-and-a-half years, supported the NDA government on different issues."

The BJD's attitude towards the BJP had not been acceptable to secular parties, Yechury said. The regional party had supported the BJP on demonetisation, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the presidential and Rajya Sabha deputy chairman elections among other issues.

"We will also not go with the TDP in Andhra Pradesh and the TRS in Telangana, which were till in the recent past with the NDA. Since they were in the government, we had opposed their plans and policies. Now, during election time, we cannot support them," Yechury said.

In West Bengal, the parties that are constituents of the Left Front will oppose both the ruling Trinamool Congress, which had ended its 34-year-long hold over the state, and the BJP, he said, adding, "Our slogan for West Bengal is 'Modi Hatao Desh Bachao, Mamata Hatao Bengal Bachao'."

Yechury said in line with its agenda of defeating the BJP, the CPI(M) will support regional parties which were not in government and were opposed to the saffron party.

Citing examples, he said the Left party will support the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance in Uttar Pradesh, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and other secular forces in Bihar, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu and other like-minded parties in different states.

The CPI(M) will field a candidate only from the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat in Odisha in the 2019 general election and its state leadership will decide on the candidates and Assembly seats it will contest, he added.