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Peace in Delhi, war on sun 'n' sand

Pals in Delhi and foes down south. But Comrades and Cong have lived through it ? and seem to have weathered well.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 17:02 IST

Pals in Delhi and foes down south. It is a strange affair. But the Comrades and the Congress have lived through it — and seem to have weathered well.

When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stepped foot on god’s own country to curry for votes, "the affair" played on his mind. He put coalition compulsions before party interest.

The tenor was set by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who desist ed from Left bashing at Kochi, Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. Singh, on a two-day campaign in the state, toed a soft line visa-vis the Red.

Addressing a press conference in Kochi on Wednesday, the Prime Minister made light of the Left's threat that it would review support to his government after the Assembly polls.

"They are our valued allies in Delhi. In coalition politics, there are differences. We have the will and good fortune to resolve all such knotty issues in an amicable manner," Singh gushed.

His remark was prompted by the "rigid" line taken by CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat, who alleged that the UPA government was implementing the US agenda instead of the CMP agreed by the Left.

He also claimed that "India had thrown to the wind the basic tenets of non-aligned movement" by vot ing against Iran on the nuclear issue and it was under tremen dous pressure from the US to kowtow to its line in defence, retail, banking and insurance sectors.

In fact, the Left parties on Wednesday upped their anti-UPA pitch hinting that they might get aggressive on the CMP "viola tions" by the UPA government.

Veteran CPI-M leader Jyoti Basu said the Left parties have sought a meeting of the UPA-Left Coordination Committee to thrash out the contentious issues.

The Prime Minister, on his part, was all sugar and spice. "We are implementing the CMP of the UPA of which the CPM is a very important and valuable partner. We have absolute commitment to the CMP in its entirety. It guides the future direction of all our policies," he said.

Tact was his tool when confronted with a poser on the "duality" of the equation in Kerala and Delhi.

Asked why should people select between two parties in Kerala when they were implementing policies together in New Delhi, he said: "We are better at de livering and good governance than our competitors (in Kerala). The state needs a climate con ducive for enterprise, creativity and savings and the UDF has a much more credible programme to realise the state's potential."

First Published: Apr 20, 2006 15:47 IST