In a move that could widen the gap between the two parties, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Tuesday said Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh was "factually incorrect" when he accused the Left of "bulldozing" the bill that led to the removal of AIIMS director P Venugopal.
"What he said was factually incorrect. The bill (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and Post Graduate Institute for Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh (Amendment) Act, 2007) was passed by the Lok Sabha. It was not supposed to go to the Standing Committee afterwards," Karat told IANS.
Amar Singh had Monday accused the CPI-M of "bulldozing" the act that fixed the tenure of the directors of the two institutes and retirement at 65; the act led to the removal Venugopal from the post of director.
The Samajwadi Party general secretary, who chairs the parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare, told a newspaper that he had reservations on the bill but the Left along with the Congress and DMK supported it and prevented it from being referred to the panel.
CPI-M leader in the Lok Sabha Basudeb Acharia, who issued a rejoinder to Amar Singh's allegations, responded by saying: "When a bill is passed in either of the houses, there is no need for it to be referred to the standing committee as it has members from both houses. There was no need for the AIIMS amendment bill to go to the parliamentary committee when it had already been passed by the lower house."
Amar Singh also accused the Left of "pushing through" the Women's Reservation Bill in the just concluded budget session. The government introduced the bill that gives 33 per cent reservation for women in parliament and legislative assemblies amid chaos in the Rajya Sabha despite the Samajwadi Party's opposition, thus ensuring that it does not lapse.
The Samajwadi Party and the Left have been working together on many issues, including protests against price rise and the India-US nuclear deal. But there have been signs of rift of late with the Samajwadi Party indicating that it was keen to patch up with its old rival the Congress party.