CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat had decided to teach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi a lesson for the 'insult' meted out to him on the nuclear deal issue by withdrawing support to the government in 2008.
With their larger-than-life image and influence on governance with 62 MPs, Karat, CPI's A B Bardhan and other Left leaders were of the belief that their decision would be the last word for the government, says former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
These are his views on the bitter period in his last days of his parliamentary career contained in his autobiography Keeping the Faith: Memoirs of a Parliamentarian, which was released by Prime Minister Singh on Saturday.
"After the formation of the UPA government with Manmohan Singh as the prime minister and Sonia Gandhi as the chairperson, it gradually became clear to all, specially those in the government, that the Left parties -- which had 62 members in the Lok Sabha and on whose outside support the survival of the government depended -- wanted to play the role of the 'real power behind the throne' as it were," Chatterjee says.
"The party gave the unpalatable impression that the UPA government could survive only with the blessings of the party's leaders, primarily of its general secretary, Prakash Karat. Needless to say, the common man took this to be nothing but unjustified arrogance on their part," he says.
According to the 81-year-old Chatterjee, Congress' resolve to operationalise the nuclear deal irked Karat.
"It seemed that Karat had decided that the prime minister and the UPA chairperson had to be taught a lesson for the 'insult' meted out to him," he writes in the chapter The Expulsion: A Great Shock.
The former Speaker, who won 10 terms to the Lok Sabha on behalf of the party that expelled him in 2008, writes that he had no role at all to play in the decision of the Left parties to withdraw support.
"I feel that the supposed 'affront' to Karat by the prime minister and UPA chairperson had upset him so much that he did not or could not objectively consider the consequences of his decision to withdraw support to the government," the book, published by HarperCollins India, says.