Last week, just before the CPI(M) Central Committee meet to discuss the Indo-US nuclear deal was to start in New Delhi, in Kolkata, from where the Left Front actually governs a state, CPI(M) leaders went on record rubbishing any notion of bringing down the UPA government at the Centre. Speaking to a Bengali daily, senior leaders like State Transport and Sports Minister Subhash Charaborty, State Commerce and Industries Minister Nirupam Sen and former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu all scoffed at the idea of their comrades in Delhi about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh turning India into a 'client state' if his government operationalised the 123 accord.
Mr Chakraborty went as far as to say that “quite often, those who have responsibilities in the party, talk big...but this talk is without much worth”. He also added that if everyone understood this election business — as Prakash Karat and his comrades seem to each time they play poker by threatening to bring the government down at the Centre — “then the history of India’s communist movement would have been different. The role of communists would have been much bigger”. And who should know better about previous ‘historic blunders’ in this arena than Mr Basu, who, after a classic internal pow-wow within the CPI(M) politburo, was denied the post of prime minister in 1997. Mr Sen, confidante to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, knows better than most the perils of sacrificing economic benefits at the altar of ideological dogma. What is interesting about these voices from Alimuddin Street, the CPI(M) headquarters in Kolkata, is that they belong to a mixed bunch. Mr Chakraborty has been vocal in the past, especially against his own government’s handling of the unrest swirling around the farmland acquisition for industry issue. Mr Basu has also had a few things to say about Mr Bhattacharjee’s drive to invite FDI into the state with open arms.
So this unity of opinion from West Bengal regarding the CPI(M)’s shenanigans in New Delhi comes from the practical position that cadres and supporters won’t bite the carrot of anti-Americanism that is inherent in Mr Karat’s opposition to the Indo-US deal. All three — and many other practising communists — know that mid-term polls will come in the way of India’s economic and development project. And only the lonely at AK Gopalan Bhavan will fail to appreciate that wisdom.