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The ’Deal’


Monday 3 December 2007, by SC


As the CPM continues its repressive acts of vegeance over the hapless people of Nandigram backed as the State Government is by a benign Centre beholden to the Marxists over their decision to let the UPA Government hold talks with the IAEA in Vienna on the India-specific safeguards agreement—and thereby permitting Dr Manmohan Singh continue in office (for he had threatened to resign from the PM’s post if the talks were disallowed)—the UPA-CPM ‘deal’ over the N-deal worked out by Pranab Mukherjee in consultation with Jyoti Basu before being finetuned by Sonia Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury has come out in the open.

CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat has in the process cut an extremely sorry figure, his repeated threats of “serious consequences” if the N-deal is “operationalised” by going to the IAEA for negotiations on the safeguards agreement turning out to be hollow. Now Prakash and his senior Left colleague, A.B. Bardhan, his CPI counterpart, are saying that the final agreement with the IAEA will have to come to the UPA-Left committee on the N-deal for approval, thus implying that they still hold the key to reject the 123 Agreement. But having made a major retreat, tactical or otherwise, in the first place on the issue of allowing the government to negotiate with the IAEA, what is the guarantee that they will not do the same when the time comes to sign the safeguards agreement? There is no doubt that the Left’s credibility has sharply eroded over the last few days both due to the CPM’s wanton atrocities in Nandigram and the unprincipled backtracking on the N-deal.

These two issues—which constituted the essence of the UPA-CPM ‘deal’—offered a fresh opportunity to the CPI to evolve a new path, clearly demarcating itself from the compromising postures of the CPM on the N-deal and the Marxist party’s despicable role in Nandigram; in such an exercise it would have garnered full support from its two other allies in the Left Front—the RSP and Forward Bloc—and as a first step it could have led them in walking out of the West Bengal Ministry without quitting the Left Front. But the CPI leadership, under A.B. Bardhan, failed to take such a bold and decisive step having resolved to swim and sink with the CPM come what may. It has thus made yet another historic blunder which would certainly not have been committed had the reins of the party been in the hands of distinguished leaders of yesteryears like P.C. Joshi and Bhowani Sen. As a result the Left as a whole will have to suffer in the coming days.

One cannot but point out, in this context, that whereas the Congress-CPI understanding during the days of Indira Gandhi (despite the most regrettable ‘tailist’ attitude of the CPI at the time of the Emergency) was based on the ideological foundation of adhering to the Gandhi-Nehru paradigm of development ensuring independent advance on both the national and international planes, the UPA-CPM cooperation today is bereft of any ideological underpinning. Crudely put, the ‘deal’ underscores an unholy collaboration intended to guarantee the continuance of Manmohan in New Delhi and Buddhadeb in Kolkata. The ploy of keeping the BJP at bay cannot fool anyone; and what has been agreed upon relies entirely on realpolitik—it suits everyone since none wants to face the electorate at this juncture.

November 29 S.C.

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