Honeymoon over, but no divorce yet, says Left
The CPI central secretariat says it would extend only “merit-based” support to Manmohan's Govt, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.india Updated: Aug 30, 2007 18:02 IST
In a decision reflecting the Left parties’ changing approach to the UPA government, amid speculation that they could withdraw support over the nuclear logjam, the CPI took the middle course on Friday.
Ahead of the CPM politburo’s final word on Saturday, the CPI central secretariat said it would extend “merit-based” support that would require the Manmohan Singh government to consult the party on all policy issues.
<b1>The CPI reiterated the demand that the Indo-US nuclear deal be put on hold. Having claimed on Thursday that the honeymoon with the UPA was over, CPI General Secretary AB Bardhan said the Left would jointly decide when to put an end to an increasingly untenable relationship.
“I never said we will withdraw support tomorrow,” Bardhan clarified on emerging from the five-hour long meeting. “The honeymoon is over but the marriage continues. It means that there is no love left in it. And a loveless marriage inevitably moves towards divorce,” he said.
On Friday morning, CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat said, “The honeymoon might be over but the marriage can continue for some time.”
The CPM politburo began its two-day meet on the issue. A politburo member told HT that the Left parties were not going to announce separate policies. “We have a common stand. We have always opposed merit-less legislations the government has brought in. We will also not allow the nuclear deal to be implemented. It is harmful to the nation,” the politburo member said.
After the meeting ended for the day, West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over dinner. After the two-hour meeting, Bhattacharjee had only this to say: “The dinner was very good”. Besides the nuclear issue, the PM and Bhattacharya discussed industrial projects coming up in Bengal.
Earlier, Bardhan added that the UPA-Left coordination committee was “dead”. Bardhan said: “You (the government) have to ask us, consult us before every issue. They can no longer take our support for granted.” Bardhan said the government is in a clear minority on the nuclear issue in Parliament.
“We feel by now the government should have come to realise that they do not reflect the majority in the House (on the nuclear deal). What they have done does not have the support of the House. Voting on the issue has also been ruled out (because the government is in a minority on the issue). Looking into these aspects, the government should not operationalise the deal,” Bardhan said.
He urged the other Left parties to sit together and critically review the UPA’s performance. Besides the nuclear issue, Bardhan said were economic and domestic policies of the government that also need to be looked into.