Third Front was "well-poised" to defeat Congress and BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat claimed on Friday and said that Biju Janata Dal chief Biju Patnaik would play an important role in government formation at the Centre.
"The non-Congress and non-BJP parties are well poised to form the government after the elections," Karat said, stating that an assessment after the fourth phase of polls indicated that no party was in a position to get absolute majority to form the government on its own at the Centre.
"We will like Naveen Patnaik, who will of course be here again as the Chief Minister, to be able to play an important role in our efforts at formation of a non-Congress and non-BJP government at the Centre," Karat told media persons after holding an hour-long discussion with the BJD supremo over lunch.
The Communist leader said that the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA would not be in a position to form a government on their own strengths, while non-Congress and non-BJP secular parties would be able to do so.
His meeting with the BJD supremo in the midst of the elections came as Patnaik has remained silent on joining the Third Front.
Patnaik, who has kept his cards close to his chest and refrained from declaring his party's open support to the Third Front, said, "Karat is in agreement with me that neither of our parties will support a Congress-led or BJP-led government at the Centre."
"Our several parties (which include the Third Front)", Patnaik said, "were in a good and healthy position to give an alternative at the Centre."
Asked whether he was in the race as the Third Front's prime ministerial candidate, the BJD supremo replied, "No."
On Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's support to the Third Front, Karat recalled the March 15 meeting in Delhi where nine parties including BSP made a joint announcement.
"On the same day we had met BSP president Mayawati and issued a joint statement with her saying after the elections, all of us will work together for the formation of a non-Congress and non-BJP government at the Centre," the CPI-M leader said.
Karat said, "We have to work this out after the elections."
Stating that he was speaking about parties, which had pre-election alliance, Karat said, "The parties will decided what they will do after elections and not we. Let us see what their position is after the elections."