With the exit polls predicting a debacle for the Left Front in the Lok Sabha election, the leaders of various Left parties are set to play a waiting game as regards joining the UPA or being part of a non-Congress federal front.
A majority of the exit polls have predicted 14-16 seats for the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala, 4-6 seats for the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and one seat for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In West Bengal, a state ruled by the Left Front for 34 years, a majority of the exit polls have given no seats to it, which could mean the worst ever performance of the front in the state.
“It is very clear that an opposition front and its strategy can only be formed after the election results on May 23. One thing is clear that a secular, alternative government will be formed at the Centre. Who will make it and how will it be created will be decided after the results,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said they would sit in the opposition if no party got a clear majority.
“We have our national executive on May 27-28. We will not take any decision before that. If no party gets a majority, we will sit in the opposition,” he said.
CPI national secretary D Raja conceded that this could be the Left’s worst poll performance in years.
“What role we will play will be decided post-May 23,” he said.
Another national secretary of the CPI, Atul Kumar Anjan, said the party would not convene a meeting of its members for finalising its role before May 23, adding that the aim was to ensure that communal forces did not form the government.
“We will see which group we want to join — the federal front or a Congress-led front. All the Left parties will decide on the way forward together,” he said, adding that this election had proved that the Congress was the “B team” of the BJP.
Yechury said traditionally, post-poll understandings had led to government formation in the country and expressed hope that 2019 would not be any different.
However, the Left leaders were tight-lipped on aligning with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) in any opposition front.
Leaders of various opposition parties such as the Congress, CPI, CPI(M), TDP, BSP and NCP are likely to meet informally on Tuesday, ahead of their meeting with the Election Commission (EC) over the VVPAT issue.