Nine days before the trust vote in the House, a realignment of political forces seems to be taking shape, based solely on opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal, as party ideologies and old friendships take a back seat.
<b1>CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat, on Sunday, dumped old ally and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and, after a meeting with Yadav’s arch-enemy and BSP chief Mayawati, declared that the two sides would "cooperate in the fight against the UPA government". There was, however, no immediate word from the Uttar Pradesh chief minister on what transpired at the meeting.
Mayawati has been on an offensive against the UPA, but hasn’t yet stated whether BSP’s 17 Members of Parliament (MPs) would vote against the government when it seeks the trust vote on July 22.
After the 45-minute meeting, Karat hailed Mayawati’s opposition to the nuclear deal. "Mayawati reiterated her opposition to the deal. It was decided that there should be cooperation to stop the deal and in the struggle against the UPA government in this regard," Karat said. His move is also an indication that the Left is not willing to restrict its opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal to a benign one.
For long, Karat has considered SP a natural ally in UP and remained critical of Mayawati for her occasional associations with the BJP. Karat also defended the SP when the Congress-BSP axis tried to corner it in the run-up to the 2007 UP Assembly polls.
And now, Karat is ironically defending the BSP from a Congress-SP axis, accusing the government of using the CBI to target political opponents.
The BSP chief can be a key player in the number game at the Centre. Beyond the strength of her own party, Mayawati can possibly win over MPs from other parties who would like to contest the next elections on a BSP ticket, given the party’s upswing in the state.
The CPI - which always had a line communication with the BSP - acted on the Left’s behalf and facilitated the Mayawati-Karat meeting on Sunday. Within hours of the meeting, CPI General Secretary AB Bardhan also accused the Congress of indulging in horse-trading to save the government and said: "It is the worst thing that can happen to Indian politics." Condemning the CBI action against Mayawati, Bardhan said: "The timing of filing the affidavit suggests that the government was using the CBI as a political tool."
"The country’s premier investigating agency is being used to switch off or switch on its so-called investigation and prosecution to launch cases at this moment to help the ruling party rig up a majority…," he added. While ruling out any floor cooperation with BJP on the trust vote, terming it a communal party, Bardhan said the Left parties were in touch with TDP, TRS, Deve Gowda and other smaller parties to seek their support for voting against the government. The Left parties have 59 MPs in Lok Sabha.