For close to a month, he ruled the airwaves, sending nervous paroxysms in the Congress, which clearly was in two minds about how to respond to this once-trusted ally-turned-foe. Everywhere Karat went, a new alliance threatened to form like monsoon clouds. Till two days ago, visions of a once-resurgent Third Front under the baton of Karat loomed large. While the Congress sent feelers, Karat issued repeated denials over any support to the Congress although he toned down the aggression quotient a few notches as verdict day approached. The CPI(M) general secretary needs to introspect or, to use a pet right-wing phrase, do some chintan-manan (deep introspection). His party got the script wrong in West Bengal and Kerala. The Left’s poor showing has changed the entire landscape for the Third Front.