In an interview to a news channel, CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said:"That is our first priority. At no cost will we support a Congress-led government. We will work for a secular government, but what shape it takes I can't say till after the elections. I can't rule it out, but it seems unlikely. I can't say that now what's going to happen. It depends on the situation. I am not very clear about what is going to happen (after Lok Sabha polls)."
Asked whether the Left would support a Congress government which is not led by Manmohan Singh, he said "we have never had problems working with any leader, a Minister or the Prime Minister". It was purely a question of policies they pursued.
Asked if he felt "betrayed" by Dr. Singh , the CPI(M) leader said he was "clear about what he wanted to do. So there is no question of being betrayed. Our problem was that we could not agree with the Congress government going ahead with a strategic alliance with the US."
Stating that the 2004 post-poll scenario, in which Congress was leading, might not be repeated this time, Karat said: "We will be coming together with parties with whom we necessarily do not have full agreement ideologically or politically."
Asked whether the Left would compromise on their anti- communal ideal if they joined hands with parties close to BJP, Karat said there were several parties which were close to the Congress or the BJP, but not with the Left. "If we succeed in bringing them on to our platform, I think it is good enough."
On charges of corruption against J Jayalalitha and Mayawati, with whom the Left wanted to align, Karat said while fighting corruption has to be on Left agenda, "you can't make corruption an issue for deciding the political programme and understanding between political parties. Then we can't have an understanding with any political party."
The CPI(M) leader said the Left parties were forging alliances with major regional and secular parties in each state which have substantial mass base.
Jayalalitha had "asked us eight months earlier, even before withdrawing support to the UPA government that they would like to have an understanding with us," he said.
Observing that the United Front, NDA and UPA coalitions were forged just before or after elections, Karat said "by 2009 elections, some alignments will develop, a third alternative will emerge. It will not just be the TDP or AIADMK, others will join us in the third front."
About BSP supremo Ms. Mayawati, Karat said he was "constantly in touch with her. We have decided that if we put our best foot forward and win sufficient seats, other secular parties will come along with us. This is what the Left and the BSP want." (ANI)