A politician as astute as Prakash Karat should have been more perspicacious than to make the statements he has recently. The Left’s opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal is well-known. But as we have mentioned before, Mr Karat and his ilk walked into the relationship with the UPA government with eyes wide open. Even as the nuclear deal was being signed, the Left said nothing about its opposition. So Mr Karat’s threat that the issue must be resolved by the end of December or else it would mean that mid-term polls would be on the cards can only be seen as political expediency.
The fact is that the Left wants the Gujarat elections over and done with before it takes a stand. Now even Mr Karat would not put his money down on his coalition as far as the elections go. However, Mr Karat should not have made his disdain for the BJP so clear. In a democracy, the motto should be to let the best formation win even if anyone has ideological reservations on the matter. The other reason for his ire could also be that Congress President Sonia Gandhi was less than complimentary about the manner in which CPI(M) cadres acted in Nandigram. The CPI(M)’s stand is all the more puzzling given that on November 16, it had issued a statement that the government should go ahead with talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency on the condition that any agreement would be signed only after it was examined by the UPA-Left committee.
Mr Karat cannot be unaware that the Left has never had it so good as far as taking a crack at national politics is concerned. It has never been able to go beyond its bastions in Kerala and West Bengal. The closest it ever came to a national role was when former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu’s name was proposed as Prime Minister following Rajiv Gandhi’s death. The Left politburo shot down this move. Mr Basu, we may add, has consistently won elections in his home state. Mr Karat and the other worthies in the Left have not. Therefore, we can only take it for granted that irresponsible remarks of the sort Mr Karat has made regarding the nuclear deal comes from a certain degree of political naivete. Or so we hope fervently.