KOLKATA, 17th March: Jyoti Basu, the CPI(M) patriarch, on Tuesday said that the Third Front was the only alternative in the present scenario, but admitted that it will be difficult for the grouping to come to power in the upcoming elections.
The former Chief Minister of West Bengal however said that his party might join the government at the Centre if the Third Front manages to muster the required number of seats in the Lok Sabha. Basu made these observations while launching the website of Sujan Chakraborty, a party nominee for the ensuing elections at his residence here. Address of the website is http://www.sujan.info/ .
“But the Third Front is the only alternative. We need the Third Front to come to power at the Centre. If that happens, the CPI(M) will be able to join the government this time,” he said. The issue of joining the Union government has been a subject of debate within the CPI(M) for well over a decade. In 1996, the CPI(M) was welcomed to join the United Front, a conglomeration of regional parties, with Jyoti Basu as the Prime Minister. The Congress was also ready to support it from outside. Though the then party general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet also was in favour of joining the government, the central committee of the CPI(M) had rejected the proposal.
Later Basu described the decision of the party not to join the government as a “historic blunder”.
Again in May 2004, the CPI(M) had discussed the issue of joining the Congress-led UPA Government, which was turned down by the party central committee. Again the possibility of joining a non-BJP, non-Congress government may come after the election, 13 years after rejecting the offer of prime ministership to Jyoti Basu. Basu feels sad over not being able to campaign in the elections due to ill-health. “My plight is that I cannot go anywhere to meet people due to my illness,” he said.