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|October 4, 1999||
Surjeet promises third front 'immediately'
Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet has said that a third front would be in place ''immediately''.
But there was no guarantee that the Congress would lead a coalition government to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party from coming back to power. Asked if there would be a Congress-led coalition at the Centre, Surjeet said, ''I am not prepared to say that today. But nothing can be excluded. It all depends on the numbers. It's a numbers game.''
Replying to whether the Left would strive for a Congress-led coalition, Surjeet said: ''No, I am not saying that. It's a question of numbers. If the other parties combine and they have some numbers, that is an issue which needs to be discussed.''
He did not rule out the possibility of a non-Congress party leading the coalition. ''Any possibility is there. The main question is how to stop the BJP from coming back to power. For that, what should be done has to be discussed,'' he said.
Hinting that parties like the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party would play a crucial role, the veteran left leader said, ''Many people who deserted us may come back. For instance, Mulayam Singh Yadav believed in equi-distance. We did not, so he left us. After the polls, what he will do is the question. He cannot afford to go with the BJP. All these questions have yet to be discussed.''
Surjeet said the Congress claim that it would form the government is ''nothing but propaganda.'' ''They will realise this as soon as the results are out.''
The Left, he continued, will continue to fight the Congress on the economic policy front. ''There can be no yielding on that. They [the Congress] will have to accommodate if they have to form a government,'' he said.
On whether the CPI-M will join the government or support from outside, and also on the question of West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu becoming prime minister, Surjeet said, "These issues will be decided at the party's politburo meeting on October 8 and 9."
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