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Bigger Left will be bossier

Having won the elections in West Bengal and Kerala, the Left parties have become bolder and louder. On Thursday, the CPM sent across a message to the UPA government at the Centre.

india Updated: May 13, 2006 21:33 IST

Having won the elections in West Bengal and Kerala, the Left parties have become bolder and louder. On Thursday, the CPM sent across a message to the UPA government at the Centre: expect a more "interventionist" Left, which will play an aggressive role in all policy matters now.

CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said: "Since the Lok Sabha elections of 2004, our party has been playing a leading role. We look forward to increased intervention after this election."

"Overall these results have strengthened the role of the Left in national politics," he said. Clearly things are not going to be easy for the UPA which is trying to bring in FDI in retail, privatise airports and go in for disinvestments to raise resources to meet its CMP promises. These are the issues that the Left has been protesting against and has minced no words in criticising them. And the Left believes the victory in the elections have only vindicated its stand.

Karat and his colleague Sitaram Yechury, however, did not spell out how or to what extent the Left will go to oppose issues like FDI. "The politburo will meet on Saturday. We'll talk about it after that," Karat said. But the party was more forthcoming on the issue of airports.

Yechury said while Delhi and Mumbai airports may have been handed over, all future airport modernisations plans would have to be conducted only through the Airport Authority of India employees.

Yechury said: "The UPA will now have to understand the compulsions of a coalition and will have to follow the CMP." He said there were several issues and promises in the CMP that have not materialised.

The aggressive posture notwithstanding, the Left will have to be conscious of a few factors. Firstly, it cannot afford to destabilise the government. Secondly, if the Left becomes aggressive, the UPA has other countervailing forces among its constituents to balance it.

And finally, the Left cannot afford to ignore the middle class, which would want a more liberalised and open economy than what the Left's purist ideology allows. After all, the middle class too had a role in its Bengal victory. CPM general secretary Prakash Karat says the Left looks forward to increased intervention in the UPA’s policy matters now.