Karat refuses to name CM candidates for WB, Kerala

Top CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat on Friday refused to name the Chief Ministerial candidates for Kerala and West Bengal, saying Buddadeb Bhattacharjee and V S Achuthanandan would lead the poll campaign.

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2011, 21:22 PM IST

New Delhi: Exuding confidence about the
outcome of the upcoming assembly elections in West Bengal and
Kerala, top CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat on Friday refused to name
the Chief Ministerial candidates saying Buddadeb Bhattacharjee
and V S Achuthanandan would lead the poll campaign.

"The state parties have already announced that
Bhattacharjee and Achuthanandan will lead the election
campaign. It (Chief Ministerial candidate) will be decided
only after the election results are out," Karat said here.
"We will break the pattern in Kerala and maintain it
in West Bengal.... We are concentraining in ensuring that the
pattern is broken in Kerala," he said in reply to questions.

The poll result trend in Kerala has generally shown a change
in the ruling alliances after every election.

Interacting with journalists at a `Meet the Press`
programme of the Press Club, he said "we are particularly
concerned about elections in these two states", which were the
strongest base of the Left.

He refused to hazard a guess about the outcome of the
coming electoral battle but said "we will have an assessment
from the ground by this month end when our state units send
their reports".

"Though it is too early to make any suggestion, we are
hopeful. There will be surprises in Tamil Nadu also," he said
asserting that the CPI(M)`s links with the peasantry and other
weaker sections would not be broken. "We are confident that
the Left will continue to play a significant role in the
national polity".

Asked about "factionalism" in the party`s Kerala unit,
Karat shot back "did this `factionalism` affect our
performance in the last assembly elections?"

He said the party would be judged both in Kerala and
West Bengal by the work the Left governments have done as also
by the "alternatives" they have provided to the policies
pursued by the Congress or its ally, Trinamool Congress.

"You have answered the question," Karat said while
replying to a journalist who asked whether he thought
Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee`s performance would be "like
that in the Railways" as she promises good governance.
To a question on Achuthanandan remaining suspended
from the Politburo, he said the Chief Minister remained a
member of the Central Committee, "the highest body of the
party. The Politburo is only the executive of the CC".

He further said that Achuthanandan was "our seniormost
leader in Kerala who has proved his record as the Chief
Minister. The other steps (suspension) taken by the
organisation has nothing to do with his work as CM".

On nine state Ministers not being fielded by the party
in Bengal, the CPI(M) General Secretary said the party had a
practice of "not repeating legislators after two terms".

However, those whom the party thought would be helpful
in leading it and would be important in government formation
and its functioning were given "exemption" like Bhattacharjee
and Achuthanandan, he said.

Asked when would he contest elections himself, Karat
said in a humorous tone "I am reaching the stage of
retirement".

He also said 40 per cent of over ten lakh CPI(M)
members were less than 35 years of age.

Karat answered a series of questions on issues ranging
from the `rectification campaign` within the party to root out
corruption or other malaise and election reforms to shrinkage
of Parliament`s functioning and "devaluation and degradation"
of the parliamentary democratic system.

PTI