Terming West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's call for a Federal Front as a "ploy" to increase her bargaining power with Congress and BJP before the 2014 polls, the Left parties feel it cannot be successful without a common minimum programme.
"It is nothing but a ploy by Banerjee to increase her bargaining power with the BJP and Congress before the 2014 elections. Everybody knows her political track record," CPI-M politburo member and Leader of the Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra said in Kolkata.
"Such an alliance can never be successful. She doesn't believe in multi-party views as she has always been unitary in approach," Mishra said.
CPI leader A B Bardhan echoed Mishra, saying "just a few chief ministers coming together for gaining power at the Centre won't be a viable option."
"Without a common programme such a front can't be viable. Earlier we had talked of third front on the basis of a common agenda with like-minded secular parties," he said.
He was referring to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik with whom Banerjee has spoken about the Federal Front which she had mooted a few days ago in a Facebook post.
It comes at a time when the Congress-led UPA is facing allegations of corruption and the BJP facing the prospect of JD(U) walking away from the NDA over the elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the saffron party's election campaign committee chief.
Left ally Forward Bloc felt that Banerjee could not get along with regional parties which had their own political views.
"A party which doesn't believe in divergent views and inner party democracy, how it will work with different political parties they only know," AIFB General Secretary Debabrata Biswas said.
Kshiti Goswami, RSP state secretary, another Left ally, said, "They are trying to fish in troubled waters. To forge an alliance there has to be a consensus which is quite hard to achieve with parties like TMC."
Samajwadi Party general secretary Kiranmoy Nanda, however, said: "We fully support Mamata Banerjee's proposal. Our leader Mulayam Singhji for the last several years has been trying to stitch up a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance at the centre."
Political scientist Arunabho Ghosh said, "If such a pre-poll alliance is stitched then it not only becomes more credible, but also viable. But such an alliance of regional parties can become successful provided it is built on a common programme."
A section of Left leaders reminisced on the ground work that late Jyoti Basu and Harkrishan Singh Surjeet had laid for the formation of an anti-Congress, anti-BJP alliance in the past, and felt that only the Left parties could become the fulcrum of such a political front.
The country first witnessed a non-Congress government in 1977 at the Centre, had trysts with such political fronts in 1989, 1996-98 with either BJP or the Congress supporting it from outside.
But these alliances had failed to complete a full term.
The Left's call for a third front in the 2009 general elections too failed to make an impact as the people chose to vote for UPA's second term.