PM does not understand how Communists work: Karat (Lead)

July 31st, 2008 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat Thursday indicated it was a mistake to have trusted the Congress leadership and said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh does not “understand how the Communist party functions”. Apparently regretting the legislative support the CPI-M-led Left parties extended to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Karat declared that there would not be any ties with the Congress in future.

In an interview telecast on Malayalam channel Kairali TV, Karat said both the Congress leadership and the prime minister had assured the Left that they would not go ahead with the India-US civil nuclear deal even if they were allowed to carry forward negotiations on an India specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Because they said they will talk and come back… if you object we will not proceed further. Now when the prime minister, the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) and the Congress leadership give such an assurance, we thought yes, let them go, talk and come back. They are bringing this to the (UPA-Left nuclear) committee. When we object in the committee, they will not proceed. This is the assurance they gave us in November.”

He added that the meeting in which the assurance was given was also attended by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Asked if the CPI-M had overestimated the trustworthiness of the Congress party he said: “It seems like that.”

Reacting to Manmohan Singh’s remarks that the CPI-M general secretary has “miscalculated” the developments, Karat said: “The bourgeois party leaders look at their (party) practices in which the leader decides everything. They do not understand how the Communist party functions.”

He said emphatically that the Left would continue to combat the government in parliament.

“We are not parties like the DMK, RJD or the NCP. They are part of the UPA along with the Congress party. We cannot have any understanding or alliance with the Congress party… we are in no way bound to support the Congress-led coalition. We will work with all the non-Congress secular parties - the non Congress secular parties who are today not with the BJP or the Congress.”

The CPI-M led Left parties - that withdrew support to the Manmohan Singh government over the India-US civil nuclear deal - have not yet taken a decision on who they would support as a prime ministerial candidate of the non-BJP, non-Congress front, he added.

“We have not decided yet,” Karat said when asked if Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati was their candidate for the top post.

Karat said the Left would enter into an electoral alliance, though he did not want it to be named the ‘third front’.

“I never talked about third alternative. Our party’s understanding of the third alternative is not some combination to fight elections. The third alternative should be in terms of policies and programmes. We don’t consider the UNPA as the third alternative. We told them that this is the alternative we were thinking about.”

On joining hands with Mayawati, a move that had been widely criticised, he said: “Mayawati left the alliance with the UPA before the Left parties withdrew support to it. She had come out of the nuclear deal before we even talked to her. Now, we go by what the parties say. They have come out against the nuclear deal, and said they would work against the UPA government. It is only after we withdrew support that we said we would contact all the secular parties opposed to the nuclear deal and who can stand against the UPA government. As part of that process, I met Mayawati, Deve Gowda, Ajit Singh, leaders of TDP and the UNPA, and then came to a common understanding.”

Predicting that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, which won the July 22 trust vote in the Lok Sabha, would face “many roadblocks” in parliament, Karat said the Left would continue to combat the government in both houses.

He pointed out that the government did not have a majority in the upper house and would face troubles in the Lok Sabha - where the Left has 59 MPs - when it came to the passage of financial bills.

“We would like to use (such occasions) effectively to combat the government,” he told the channel.

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