Six opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party (SP), on Sunday vowed to form an alliance with the Congress against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, but failed to float a united front following the Left parties' "aversion" to the Congress heading the prospective bloc.
The CPI(M) claimed that the Congress was pursuing the politics of "soft Hindutva" in the state.
The eight parties that met on Sunday, including the CPI and the CPI(M), would meet again on October 7 to take their coalition talks forward, a Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader said.
Representatives of the LJD, SP, Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Bahujan Sangharsh Dal (BSD), Gondwana Gantantra Party (GPP), Rashtriya Samanta Dal (RSD) and Prajatantrik Samadhan Party (PSP) discussed the prospective alliance for the Assembly polls, due later this year.
"All the parties agreed to join hands, but the CPI and the CPI(M) disagreed to align with the Congress to take on the BJP in the upcoming polls," LJD leader Govind Yadav told PTI after the meeting.
He said the Congress, by virtue of being the main opposition party, should take the lead in forming the alliance "as the time is running out".
The meeting was called to work out an alliance against the BJP, which has been in power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003.
"Six of the eight parties agreed on an alliance to be headed by the Congress, but the CPI and the CPI(M) were averse to the Congress steering the bloc," Mr Yadav said.
State CPI(M) secretary Jaswinder Singh said the Congress was peddling "soft Hindutva".
"The Congress is pursuing a soft Hindutva agenda, while the BJP hard Hindutva. We see no difference between both the parties," he said.
Stating that the Left parties were against communalism and were keen to form an alliance to defeat the BJP, Singh said, "But we do not want the group to be steered by the Congress."
The Congress, trying hard for its political revival in Madhya Pradesh, had courted the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for a tie-up. However, the Mayawati-led party dashed the Congress's hopes by announcing its first list of 22 candidates on September 20.
Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath had said his party was keen to join hands with the like-minded parties such as the BSP for taking on the BJP.
However, the BSP is maintaining that it will contest all the 230 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh on its own.
It seems that after the BSP announced its first list of candidates, the LJD has now set the ball rolling for talks on the anti-BJP alliance.
LJD mentor Sharad Yadav, who originally hails from Madhya Pradesh, has been trying hard to cobble up the Congress-led opposition.