The Left parties don't consider Congress as 'untouchable' but are trying to form a Third Front government at the Centre and may join it if they can play a meaningful role in it, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Monday.
Interacting with media persons at a 'meet the press' programme in Kolkata, Buddhadeb parried a question on the issue of supporting a Congress-led government, saying, "It is too early to comment who is going to support whom. At the moment we are trying to form a government without Congress and BJP."
Asked whether the CPI-M considers the Congress to be untouchable, he said, "We don't believe in untouchability."
Bhattarcharjee said, "We are trying to form a Third Front government at the Centre with like-minded secular and democratic parties and the Left will play a meaningful role in it. The Left will join a Third Front government if it can play a meaningful role in policy making and implementation."
"Let the elections be over and results be announced. Right now, we are trying to defeat the Congress and the BJP," he said.
He said that the CPI-M politburo would meet on May 18 after the counting on May 16 to discuss the matter.
Asked about the 'meaningful role' in the government at the Centre, Bhattacherjee said he meant, "If an alternative government is formed on the basis of unanimity of programmes, and if we can bring about a change in the internal, foreign and economic policies then we will join the government at the Centre."
On Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee brushing aside the possibility of a Third Front government and that it would remain a 'dream of Left parties', Bhattacharjee said: "We are not trying to form a Left government. At this moment, we are trying to form a front with like-minded parties. Of course, the Left will play a leading role in it."
To a question about roping in other political parties in the Third Front, the CPI-M leader said: "My party is in touch with almost all the political parties in both UPA and NDA. CPI-M is in touch with the RJD, LJP, Samajwadi Party besides TDP and AIADMK. We are talking with all."
Asked whether he agreed with Marxist veteran Jyoti Basu's earlier assertion that refusal of the offer of prime ministership to him in 1996 was a 'Himalayan blunder', Bhattacharjee said, "He is too big a leader for me to comment."