Forward Bloc questions Left’s plan to attend Obama speech (Lead)

October 30th, 2010 - 7:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) Saturday said they will not boycott US President Barack Obama’s address to MPs Nov 8. But the Forward Bloc, a Left constituent, questioned the decision.

“We boycott in a particular context,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Brinda Karat told IANS, referring to the party’s views on former US president George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. “We don’t see any necessity (to boycott Obama).”

Asked what makes Obama different, the Rajya Sabha MP said the difference was that he was the first black president of the US.

Obama visits Mumbai and New Delhi Nov 6-9. The Left parties will hold a country-wide protest Nov 8 protesting the “imperialist policies” of the US.

“We are not boycotting Obama because he is not addressing the joint session of parliament. He is only addressing a joint sitting of MPs from both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha,” said CPI national secretary Shameem Faizee.

However, Forward Bloc national secretary G. Devarajan questioned the decision saying “there is no point in attending the session after giving a call to hold nationwide protest”.

Asked what decision the Forward Bloc has taken on the matter, Devarajan said the central committee of the party would decide next week whether or not to boycott the sitting.

“Forward Bloc has decided to have a week-long protest from Nov 6 to 12 during Obama’s visit. The party is of the opinion that the change of guard in the US administration has made no change in its policy towards Palestine, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq,” Devarajan said.

On Thursday, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) general secretary T.J. Chandrachoodan had said that there must be a “change in the Left parties’ perception of diplomacy.

“These are not the olden days. So far, explicitly Obama has not done any aggression on any other nation,” Chandrachoodan said.

The Left parties Friday said their protest Nov 8 would demand, among other things, justice for victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy for which US multinational Union Carbide was blamed.

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