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Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 30

Essence of Left Revolt

Editorial

Wednesday 16 July 2008, by SC

What was inevitable has happened. With the PM conveying to the media on board the aircraft enroute to the G-8 summit meeting in Toyako that his government would be proceeding to the IAEA “very soon”, the Left parties were left with no option but to withdraw their support to the UPA dispensation. In effect it was not the Left but the PM who was responsible for the Left’s pullout (especially when the External Affairs Minister had called the next meeting of the UPA-Left committee on the nuclear deal on July 10). As a result the four-year UPA-Left arrangement has finally ended and the leaders of the four Left parties (the CPM, CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc) have gone to President Pratibha Patil to convey to her their decision to part company with the UPA while urging her to ask the PM to face a confidence vote forthwith. On his return from the G-8 summit, PM Manmohan Singh has also met the President at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and intimated to her his decision to face Parliament and win a vote of confidence.

Meanwhile, as was expected, the Samajwadi Party, which had been one of the most vociferous critics of the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement, has suddenly undergone a somersault to turn into a staunch supporter of the nuclear deal. It has thus extended full support from outside to the Congress-led UPA, and its General Secretary Amar Singh deemed it necessary to convey the SP’s decision on this score to the President in order to “allay all doubts and suspicions” about the party’s position.

But what has come as a shock to all democrats is the manner in which the UPA Government played hide-and-seek not just with the Left but the country and its people as a whole. First, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the chief interlocutor from the government side with the Left, categorically stated that the government would approach the IAEA Board of Governors only after winning the confidence vote in Parliament; but subsequently it became transparent that the government had asked the IAEA to distribute the text of the India-specific safeguards agreement to its member states even when Manmohan was on his way to Japan for the G-8 summit. Secondly, Pranab himself had declined to show the safeguards to the Left leaders saying “it was a privileged and classified document” and only its salient points had been presented before them; but later the IAEA spokesperson said the Agency was not in a position to “restrict India” to keep the document under wraps, and thereafter it was put up on the MEA’s website. Thirdly, while the Left leaders were denied access to the document (that is, the draft text of the safeguards agreement), it was made readily available to the Congress’ new-found ally, Amar Singh of the SP—this has exposed the real face of the government as well as Manmohan.

At the same time the Americans have been allowed to become hyper active in this country to help India proceed along the different stages of the 123 Agreement. Or else who could have thought the US ambassador would hold parleys with heads of missions of so many countries in the Capital to give the necessary push to the deal?

This is a bizarre scenario. And it proves beyond any shadow of doubt that today’s Congress, waiting to anoint Rahul Gandhi as the ‘supreme leader’ (with Sonia’s full blessings), has—beyond the occasional rhetorical anti-communal outbursts—practically nothing in common with the organisation which, under Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership, won independence for the country and, under Jawaharlal Nehru’s stewardship, reinforced that freedom in the post-independence years, a legacy carried forward by his daughter despite the Emergency interregnum. In fact bartering away that independence and Indian sovereignty to the sole surviving superpower apart from eroding our indigenous nuclear programme, and thereby undermining self-reliance, through this nuclear deal is the crowning achievement of the UPA dispensation for which Manmohan Singh deserves maximum credit (and it has already come in George W. Bush’s fulsome praise of our PM). By revolting against such an “achievement” of accepting a charter of dependency with the objective of reducing this billion-strong nation into the status of a supplicant, the Left has in essence held aloft the banner of patriotism as practised during the freedom struggle regardless of the diatribes and invectives from the side of the elite including the media suffering from the Washington virus.

July 10 S.C.

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