The Left parties took to the streets on Tuesday to protest against the Indo-US civil nuclear deal and the five-nation naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal, which also includes American warships.
While CPM general secretary addressed a public meeting in Chennai, CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan spoke out at a similar gathering in Kolkata. Groups of Left workers will travel from both cities to converge at Vishakhapatnam for further protests.
“This government is a minority government. It exists only with the support of parties like us. So it should not go ahead with the nuclear agreement,” said Karat.
“I don’t think we fought for our freedom to be slaves once again”, said Bardhan, adding that the Left would continue to oppose the deal when the committee set up by the Centre meets to discuss it.
Karat lambasted the UPA for its “tilt” toward the US in its foreign policy, saying this went against the Common Minimum Programme (CMP). The CMP did not contain a single word about a strategic alliance with the US, Karat said.
CPI-M patriarch Jyoti Basu, flagging off the Kolkata rally, said: “The naval exercise too, goes against the spirit of the CMP.” He added that the government would have to face the “consequences” if it sought to operationalise the nuclear deal.
Earlier in the day, Karat and CPI national secretary D. Raja met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in Chennai to brief him on their parties’ position on the nuclear deal and the naval exercise.
(With Agency inputs)