Buddhadeb a personal friend, says Manmohan

May 3rd, 2009 - 2:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Kolkata, May 3 (IANS) Describing West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as a “personal friend”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has yet again said that the Congress-led UPA is open to an alliance with the Left for government formation after the Lok Sabha polls.
“There can be an understanding with the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for installing a government. There are no permanent friends or foes in politics,” Manmohan Singh said in an interview.

The prime minister also termed as “unnecessary” and “meaningless” CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat’s constant attacks on him and his comment that the Left would not support a Rajya Sabha member for the prime minister’s chair.

“I don’t know why he is saying all this. These are completely unnecessary and meaningless,” said Manmohan Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam.

The prime minister said he enjoys good rapport with Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu and also had a good relationship with late CPI-M leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet. “But I don’t know why Karat is behaving this way,” he was quoted as saying in an interview to the Ananda Bazar Patrika.

However, he hastened to add that lot of things are said during the election campaign.

“See what happens after the polls,” Manmohan Singh said.

On Bhattacharjee, the prime minister said: “Buddhababu is a personal friend. My opinion of him has not changed. The friendship will remain. But at the same time I have to criticise his government for the way it has ignored the interests of the peasants.”

The Congress, which has stitched together an alliance with Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress to take on the Left Front headed by the CPI-M, has been very critical of the state government for its alleged failure on the development front and inability to utilise central funds for welfare schemes.

The prime minister himself, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi have led the assault on the Left government during their election meetings in the state.

Despite the Left having strongly opposed various economic reforms of his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government while providing it crucial outside support for four years since 2004, Manmohan Singh said he didn’t have a “bad experience” working with the Communists, except during the Indo-US civil nuclear deal controversy.

“The Left parties have supported us for the major part of the last five years. My experience of working with them as political colleagues is not bad. Save the nuclear treaty, we didn’t have any problems with them,” he said.

The Left parties had withdrawn support to the Congress-led dispensation protesting against the civilian nuclear deal with the US which they said was against India’s interests.

Manmohan Singh also averred that the Congress would form the next government.

Asked whether it was possible for the UPA to form a government without help from the Left, and what would happen to his party’s alliance with Banerjee in such a scenario, he said: “Congress has entered into a seat adjustment with the Trinamool. We hope to form a government at the centre and Mamata will become a partner in the UPA government.”

“But at the same time, it is also true that the Left and other parties can also be part of the process to install the next government. Because it is a top priority for every secular force to stop the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party),” said the economist-turned-politician.

Manmohan Singh said he would also like to have Banerjee in his cabinet. “She had been a minister earlier and gave a good account of herself.”

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