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UPA trying to woo back Left parties
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February 05, 2009 13:59 IST

A number of major parties, including the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal, are trying to revive links with the Left parties.

Regional parties have also started wooing the Left -- a force currently focused on combining the non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party forces for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

After Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh's [Images] meeting with Communist Party of India leader AB Bardhan, RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh met CPI General Secretary D Raja and tried to convince him about the bright prospects of an RJD-Left-Congress alliance in Bihar.

CPI-M chief Prakash Karat [Images], however, is keeping everyone waiting.

On Wednesday, Amar Singh, who has undertaken hasty efforts to build a bridge with the Left parties, was not given an appointment. Karat told media persons he "is very busy" and couldn't "find time" to meet Amar Singh.

Sources in the RJD said Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, one of Lalu Prasad's closest lieutenants, held a long discussion with Prasad over alliances and the possibility of a tie-up with the Left was extensively discussed.

Lalu Prasad is eager not to field his candidates on the two seats which he had given to the CPI and the CPI-M in the previous elections to signal a thaw with the Left.

As the Congress feels that it may again need the Left after the elections, its allies want to develop a working relation with their estranged partners. As part of the strategy, RJD's Singh later met Raja and asked him to arrange a meeting between Lalu Prasad and Bardhan. The RJD is confident of the meeting taking place soon.

Meanwhile, sources close to Karat said he might not meet the SP general secretary even during the next few days till the next politburo meeting (scheduled for February 14).

"The CPI-M top leadership may not formally interact with Singh or any other SP leader before the politburo meeting, where the party is expected to discuss poll preparations, among other things," said a politburo member.

Karat, hinting that he was not keen to meet Singh any time soon, told media persons "not to waste time on this issue."

The Left has had a long-standing alliance with the RJD which the state unit of the CPI-M is totally opposed to. The Left has also decided to distance itself from the allies of the Congress (the RJD is the largest ally of the Congress in the UPA) after it withdrew support from the UPA government over the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

Amar Singh is seen in the Left circles as the main force behind the SP's flip-flop on the Indo-US nuclear deal. For over a year, the SP and the Left opposed the deal, but when the Left withdrew support from the UPA government, the SP voted with the government in the trust vote in Parliament.

Many top CPI-M leaders believe Singh influenced the SP leadership to vote in favour of the government and snap ties with the Left. A section of the CPI-M also feels that any hasty friendly move towards the SP may send a wrong signal to Mayawati's [Images] Bahujan Samaj Party. The CPI-M wants to keep options open for a post-poll alliance with Mayawati.

The Congress leadership is also not eager to give much importance to the SP's overtures towards the Left. "Let them talk to the Left or any other party. It will not affect our approach towards the SP," said Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh.

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