The CPM, which had proudly proclaimed at its Coimbatore party Congress in March that it had succeeded in forcing the UPA government to drop the nuclear deal from its agenda, now finds itself completely foxed by the current political developments.
The Samajwadi Party till recently a close Left ally moved towards the UPA and the government’s decision to go ahead with the nuclear deal has caught the CPM-led Left Front napping. The turn of events has dealt a severe blow to the Left strategy of stalling the deal and forging a non-Congress non-BJP third alternative.
The Left leaders were confident that the UPA, which was dependent on their 59 MPs for survival, would not proceed with the deal. Reason: The Manmohan Singh government would not risk its stability “on a single issue”.
At the party Congress, the CPM had gone to the extent of declaring that the deal with the US was over. “Faced with the political consequences of a confrontation with the Left, the Congress and the UPA decided not to proceed further with the operationalisation of the agreement. This is a significant step forward in the struggle to prevent the US from making India its junior partner,” stated the political resolution adopted in Coimbatore.
While claiming victory for having successfully scuttled the deal, the party also highlighted the need for taking a lead in forging a non-Congress, non-BJP third alternative, based on a long-term political programme and not simply an electoral front.
“The parties which are outside the fold of the Congress and the BJP are grouped in the UNPA. Parties like the SP, TDP and the AGP are regional parties with a substantial base in their states. They seek cooperation with the Left,” the resolution said.
However, the party’s efforts of building a programme-oriented third alternative have taken a beating with one of its closest allies, the SP ditching it in favour of the Congress at this critical juncture. In fact, the SP’s decision to back the deal has come as a shock for the Left leaders, who were counting their 39 MPs in the list to argue that the government should not proceed with the controversial deal as the majority in Parliament were opposed to it.