Kozhikode: Launching a frontal attack on the UPA and the NDA, mainstream Left parties on Wednesday said there was only a Left-democratic alternative to these alliances whose policies have been "rejected" by people.

Inaugurating the 20th CPI-M Congress being attended by over 700 delegates, party general secretary Prakash Karat said the recent Assembly elections to five states had proved the "failure" of the two political combinations led by Congress and BJP.

"The people are looking for an alternative as the bankruptcy and venality of the present order becomes apparent. We feel that such an alternative can be provided only by the Left and democratic forces," he said.

To forget such an alternative, CPI-M should be able to expand its base and influence all over the country, he said.

"A strong CPI-M can strengthen Left unity and thereby rally other democratic forces to present a Left and democratic platform," Karat said.

Ruling out the 'Third Front' theory, Karat said the need of the hour was to have joint action among Left and secular parties on people's issues and defence of federalism and secularism.

 Veteran CPI leader A B Bardhan said only a credible alternative of Left and secular forces could fill the "political vacuum" created by people's "rejection" of policies of the Fronts led by Congress and BJP.