BJP backs Left, Left backs Maya
The battlelines for the July 22 show-of-strength in Lok Sabha got sharper on Saturday. The Left, BJP and BSP united on an anti-government plank and Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked party leaders to mop up the numbers as the race is expected to be close.
The Left and the BJP came out in Mayawati’s defence and charged the government of using the CBI to harass political opponents. The BJP and the RSS accused the Congress of “betraying” the Left, while the Left made it clear that its members will vote against the government.
Said CPI (M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury: “History is not going to judge people by the co-travellers in a train.
History’s evaluation is: ‘Have I completed my journey?’.” The BJP echoed him, as senior leader Venkaiah Naidu said, “I am not going to get off the Rajdhani Express because a Left leader is a co-passenger. Our goal is to see that the government goes.” An editorial in the RSS mouthpiece Paanchjanya also hailed the “courage” shown by CPM general-secretary Prakash Karat.
Left leaders are in touch with several anti-Congress regional leaders. However, for many parties such as the JDS, talking to the Left is merely a tool to raise bargaining power with the Congress.
The Left is also keen to get Mayawati into its orbit, but the Dalit leader has reservations, given her national ambitions — for one, the BSP is challenging Om Prakash Chautala in Haryana.