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CPM crushes dissent and takes a hard line over nuclear deal




For some time now, it seemed like the internal dispute within the CPM over the nuclear deal was preventing the left from carrying out the ultimatum to the Congress Government. It was quite clear that there was a lobby within the West Bengal unit (which had both the Chief Minster and Jyoti Basu) speak up for nuclear energy and even proclaim that relations with the US were important for the country; as opposed to the push by the politburo and Prakash Karat for a no-holds barred line against the nuclear deal even if it means bringing down the Government. And when pushed to whether this means that the left is agreeable to the BJP coming back to power if the Government falls, the left states that it treats both the BJP and US imperialism on the same level. At the same time, all the public comments by the Congress are that it will not favor going back and will push for the deal. Maybe they feel that if they go back, they will have no face left and will be pushed by the left again and again over other issues as well.

Poll clouds seem to have darkened further with CPM veteran Jyoti Basu on Saturday ruling out the possibility of any compromise on Left opposition to the US-India nuclear deal. Endorsement of the hard line on the deal is likely to quicken poll calculations of the UPA as the Left axe begins to descend on the Manmohan Singh government.
As reported by TOI on Saturday, Marxists are thinking in terms of withdrawing support if their threat against holding negotiations with IAEA goes unheeded. The deliberations in Kolkata indicated that CPM general secretary Prakash Karat’s hard line had prevailed, and will strip the UPA-Left committee on the nuclear deal of even the token relevance it has. “The committee will continue as long as it is allowed to,” a senior Congress source said.

At the same time, recent comments by various US officials had indicated that the time needed for the deal was reducing and various Indian ministers had indicated that they were committed to the deal going through. In addition, the Congress seems to be moving into election mode (and so are other parties). Seems like the time is over, unless the CPM is playing a massive bluff and bluster card.




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