Seven non-Cong oppn parties join hands for Raj polls

The parties -- CPI(M), CPI, Samajwadi Party, JD(S), CPI(ML), RLD and Marxist-Communist Party of India (MCPI) -- have formed 'Rajasthan Democratic Front' with a "mutual election understanding" to defeat the BJP government in Rajasthan and at the Centre. (PTI Photo)

With the Congress "not responding positively" to a united fight against the BJP, seven opposition parties led by the Left have decided to fight the Rajasthan Assembly elections as a coalition while keeping the doors open for the BSP.

The parties -- CPI(M), CPI, Samajwadi Party, JD(S), CPI(ML), RLD and Marxist-Communist Party of India (MCPI) -- have formed 'Rajasthan Democratic Front' with a "mutual election understanding" to defeat the BJP government in Rajasthan and at the Centre.

Interestingly, the BSP does not figure in the coalition as it is currently trying to enter into an alliance with the Congress. 

Anticipating that the Congress may not heed to its demands with an adamant state leadership against any such move, these parties feel that they could rope in the BSP in case the latter's negotiations with the Congress collapse. 

Reportedly, the BSP is seeking 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 17 in Rajasthan and 11 in Chhattisgarh from the Congress but the latter has not opened its mind on negotiations. Congress leaders in Rajasthan are not keen for a tie-up while negotiations in Madhya Pradesh are on. 

"We are open to the BSP. If the Congress is not agreeing to them, then the BSP may come to our side. If the BSP is not there, then they may be with us," CPI National Secretary Atul Kumar Anjan told DH.

With the Congress "not realising the ground realities and not being accommodative", the new front is now identifying possible seats it could contest in Rajasthan even as the Left parties also initiated an exercise for a similar front in Madhya Pradesh, which also goes to polls later this year. 

While these parties recently had a state-level convention inaugurated by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda in Jaipur, the CPI has "identified" 42 seats while the CPI(M) has 35 seats in mind.  

"We are not saying the CPI is contesting all these 42 seats or CPM 35 seats. What we have said is that we have identified these many seats for contesting. Other parties will also identify their seats. There are some 2-3 seats which both CPI(M) and CPI have claimed. We will sort it out. We will have to see our strength in these areas. We will see the candidates and then decide," Anjan said.

These parties are also upset with the Congress for not accommodating them amid talks about a larger Opposition unity ahead of Lok Sabha elections. They remind the Congress about how it lost Gujarat though it had good chances of winning it.

"We want to tell Congress not to repeat Gujarat. If Congress you had given 17-20 seats to smaller parties in Gujarat, they might have even won the state. Of these 17-20 seats, smaller parties could have won at least 10 seats. Don't forget, Congress lost 15 seats in a margin of 300-1900 votes. By visiting temples alone you cannot win," Anjan said.

Another CPI National Secretary D Raja said other parties cannot wait for what Congress would decide. "We can't keep waiting We are preparing for the elections. Our primary objective is to defeat BJP. Wherever we are not fighting, we will give a call to defeat BJP and help secular parties win," he said.

In Madhya Pradesh too, the Left parties are planning a joint front and a state-level convention will be organised soon. Here, CPI(M) (26 seats) and CPI (19) have "identified" seats where they could contest.

READ MORE:

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It's BJP's 'cash power' vs people's power, says Cong

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Seven non-Cong oppn parties join hands for Raj polls

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