Barely 24 hours before the five-nation Malabar naval exercise comes to an end, the Left parties sent a warning to the UPA government that it should not get too cozy with the "imperialist" US.
"The joint naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal off the Visakhapatnam coast was a US ploy to steal our military secrets," said CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, addressing a rally attended by thousands of cadres and activists at the Ramakrishna beach in Vishakhapatnam on Saturday evening.
<b1>"In the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the UPA, there was not a word about the strategic alliance with America. If that was put in the CMP, the Left parties would never have supported the government," he added.
"It's time the UPA leadership decides whether it should abide by the commitment to the United States or to the Common Minimum Programme," he added.
"Whatever takes place in the future, we will not compromise on the independent foreign policy and national interests," Karat said.
His sentiments were echoed by other Left leaders, including the CPI's AB Bardhan. The latter broke into Mere angane mein tumhara kya kaam hai, asking what the US navy was doing in "our courtyard".
These remarks notwithstanding, the Left parties appear unwilling to pull the rug from the UPA government's feet.
"Sarkar bhi chalegi, hum bhi rahenge. Koi last warning nehin hai," said Bardhan.
The port city, which houses the Eastern Naval Command and the country's only sub-marine division, was bathed in a sea of red as Left cadres marched to Beach Road bringing traffic to a halt. Red flags and posters were seen all over the city.
Two processions, one from Chennai led by Prakash Karat, and another from Kolkata headed by CPI leader AB Bardhan, converged at a massive rally at Siripuram junction. The rally culminated in the public meeting on the Beach Road.
There was also graffiti depicting US President George W. Bush as a devil sitting amidst pile of skulls and bones and grabbing PM Manmohan Singh.