After hard politics, time for some hard commerce (Political Prattle)

July 10th, 2008 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Business was brisk at the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) headquarters here Thursday with journalists scrambling to buy a copy of the 203-page book brought out by the four Left parties on their stance on the controversial India-US nuclear deal. The publication - coming in the midst of the political cacophony - unveiled the proceedings of the last nine sessions of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-Left nuclear committee, which was set up to hammer out a unanimity on the deal.

Priced at Rs.50, the books disappeared with an alacrity that could be a dream for a bookseller or publisher.

CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat Wednesday at a press conference said his party could not give out the books free “We are a poor party,” Karat said.

Titled ‘Left stand on nuclear deal’ - the book - from the avid interest displayed by journalists - some of whom grabbed more than just one copy- could become the only ‘bestseller’ ever authored by Indian Communists!

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All quiet at CPI headquarters

Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary A.B. Bardhan was having his Spartan lunch in the party office canteen and sharing nuggets of the press conference he addressed Thursday with Prakash Karat, with his comrades.

Much of the conversation veered around to the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukheree and his flip-flops over the nuclear deal safeguards. “How does he (Mukherjee) continue after this?” asked a CPI comrade.

But it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s sudden bout of “aggression” in going ahead with the deal that seemed to have surprised teh CPI general secretary most.

“He is normally not like this,” said Bardhan who always got a phone call from Manmohan Singh on his birthday.

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Beneath bravado future jitters

A senior Congress minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) cabinet sounded cautious about the government’s show of strength in parliament. “I think we will make it with a narrow majority,” the minister said.

If the Left is breathing fire - the Congress - is calculating its political losses.

It is not just the imminent floor test that is a headache. The ruling party leaders are keenly sensitive to the thought that they may a fractured mandate on hands, even after the next general elections.

What then?

“We will again have to go shamefaced to the Left for an alliance,” said the pragmatic Congress minister who is not too happy at the turn of events.

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