The CPI(M) is finding itself increasingly isolated within the Left camp with the RSP joining the chorus with the CPI mounting pressure on the big brother to consider withdrawing support from the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.
A week after CPI general secretary AB Bardhan went on record saying that time has come to consider withdrawing support from the Centre, RSP leader and former MP Manoj Bhattacharya said on Thursday that his party would soon write to the CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat to formally express a similar view.
“In spite of protests, the Centre has unilaterally announced its policy on Special Economic Zone. It is deviating from the Common Minimum Programme. We had supported the Congress to keep BJP out of power. Still BJP continues to grow. It is time we think of an alternative instead of continuing our support indefinitely,” Bhattacharya said. He reminded that his party along with the Forward Bloc was against offering an outside support to a Congress-led government from the very outset but later softened their stand to maintain Left-unity.
Insisting that RSP was not merely parroting the CPI’s line, Bhattacharya said that way back in February 2005 – a year after the UPA came to power - the party had written to the other three Left parties asking them to consider withdrawing support. “Even on January 31 this year, we met Prakash Karat and A.B. Bardhan with a similar demand,” Bhattacharya said.
The Forward Bloc, which too is annoyed with anti-people policies of the Centre and afraid that its impact might fall also on the Left, has urged the CPI(M) to immediately call a meting of all the Left parties to discuss future strategy.
Avoiding a direct reply whether his party was in favour of a drastic decision like the CPI and the RSP, general secretary of Forward Bloc Debabrata Biswas said, “I met Karat three days ago. There should be an emergency meeting of the four Left parties. The Congress is continuously ignoring our demands while the BJP is growing. We must take some action.”
While CPI(M) leaders refused to comment on the issue publicly, they said the party considered the demands of CPI and the RSP “absolutely absurd.” “Do they want this government to fall and the onus comes on us? Such demands are absolutely absurd and ridiculous,” a central committee member of the CPI(M) said.
Admitting that the Centre’s policies, price rise, farmers’ suicide and a host of other issues are making the Central government unpopular and that the BJP was trying to gain advantage from it, the CPI(M) leader, however, said that CPI and the RSP had a hidden agenda while demanding withdrawal of support.
The top CPI(M) leader alleged that the CPI and the RSP were actually trying to avoid the adverse fallout of supporting the UPA government so that the entire brunt fell on the CPI(M). He said that a meeting of the Left parties would be held soon and these contentious issues would be addressed.