A day after saying the Congress was ready for a mid-term poll, Sonia Gandhi launched her campaign, describing the opponents of the India-US nuclear deal as enemies of the nation’s development.
<b1>“Elements (opposed to the deal) are not only the enemies of Congress but they are also enemies of progress and development. We have to give them a strong and befitting reply,” she told a public meeting in Haryana’s Jhajjar district on Sunday. This is the first time Sonia has hit out at the Left, even though she did not mention any party by name.
The Leftists reacted sharply, accusing the Congress of “foisting” an election on India, and repeating they would not “compromise”.
“It appears from the remarks of… Soniaji that the Congress is keen to foist an election on the people,” CPI’s AB Bardhan said. Elections “could be sometime in February,” he added.
RSP’s Abani Roy was even more aggressive: “We have to pull out. Yes, there is no doubt about it,” PTI quoted him as saying. Forward Bloc’s Debabrata Biswas was reported as saying the Left’s “position cannot be compromised”.
As the political temperature rose suddenly, the CPM, chose not to comment. But it has called an emergency politburo meet on October 17, apparently to finalise a stand following the October 9 and October 15 meetings of the coordination committee of the UPA-Left.
Sonia’s comments on Sunday represent an escalation of the tensions with the Left that now seem to have gone past breaking point. It has sharpened the rhetoric between the sides which had been tempered somewhat by her conciliatory comment in New York differences would be overcome, she had said last week. But now, the gloves seem to be truly off. She has dared the Left, and seems to have closed any channels still open for a possible compromise.