Left not to share power with Congress at Centre

Updated on May 18, 2004 02:40 AM IST

Political compulsions in its bastions of power and fear of differences compelled the Left to opt out.

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PTI | ByChandan Nandy, New Delhi

Political compulsions in its bastions of power — West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura — and apprehensions of probable differences on the common minimum programme (CMP) compelled the Left Front to finally turn down the Congress' offer of sharing power at the Centre on Monday.

The Left took this decision after all constituent parties, including the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Bloc, met in the Capital to reject the perception in a minority quarter of the LF that participation in the government would have been a better deal. Earlier, the CPI(M)'s Central Committee (CC) decided to provide outside support to the Congress-led government.

The CPI, which seemed keen on joining the government, had to give up its ambition due to "big brother" CPI(M). CPI general secretary A.B.Bardhan said: "Either the LF participates as a whole or keeps out as a whole. It is an imperative to preserve the unity and cohesion of the Left." The RSP and the Forward Bloc had earlier expressed reservations against joining the government.

Apart from political compulsions, the LF's decision was weighed by possible disagreement with the Congress and its allies on certain issues that might be contained in the Congress-drafted CMP. "We give ourselves scope to disagree (on the CMP). A lot depends on it," CPI(M) general secretary H.S.Surjeet said.

Indicating the importance of the CMP, Surjeet said "formation of a coordination committee (to monitor the implementation of the CMP) will come only if the Left is satisfied with it. It will be the test of watching the government".

After a marathon debate over two days, on the pros and cons of joining a Congress-led government, the 79-member CPI(M) central committee concluded it would not participate in the government. Emerging from the meeting, Somnath Chatterjee said the committee took a "collective decision". The issue was not put to vote.

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