Under attack from his comrades over the Left parties' withdrawal of support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Tuesday sounded a placatory note and said there would be no let up in the fight against the BJP.
Explaining the rationale for the break-up with the UPA over the India-US nuclear deal, Karat said the Left parties could not afford any compromise on such a vital issue concerning "American imperialism".
"But that does not mean there will be any let-up in the Left parties' fight against the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the dangers of communalism," Karat said in a front-page signed article in the Communist Party of India-Marxist's party's Bengali mouthpiece Ganashakti on Tuesday.
"... BJP is trying to make capital out of the present unstable situation... We need to involve the people in our struggle for an alternative economic policy. In that way we can prevent the communal forces from fishing in troubled waters," he added.
His comments come a day after senior CPI-M leader and West Bengal Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty disclosed that he had written to Karat saying that it would not be correct to vote against the Congress-led government along with the BJP during the July 22 trust vote.
Chakraborty, who is also a CPI-M state secretariat member, said the Communists would have to answer embarrassing questions from the people for a long time if the party's MPs voted against the Congress.
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has also reportedly written to Karat saying he had misgivings on quitting the prestigious post and voting along with the BJP during the confidence motion. Besides, a section of the CPI-M in its traditional stronghold West Bengal is believed to be against the party's decision to withdraw support and vote against the confidence motion.
Addressing the concerns, Karat launched a scathing attack on the BJP and said: "It is following a communal agenda. It is for this reason that we strongly oppose the BJP."
He said there was no similarity between the stand taken by his party and the BJP on the nuclear deal.
Assailing the BJP for its efforts to forge a strategic partnership with the US during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime, Karat said: "Then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had declared that India was a natural ally of the US. (Then) home minister Lal Krishna Advani had visited the CIA office in Washington."
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, however, bore the brunt of Karat's attack. "He tried to garner BJP's support on the nuclear deal. He made such an appeal to Vajpayee in parliament. To get the BJP's support, Manmohan even went to the extent of describing Vajpayee as the Bhishma Pitamaha of Indian politics," the article said.
CPI-M and three other Left parties withdrew support to the UPA last week protesting the government's decision to go ahead with the nuclear deal.