Yechury briefed British minister on Left plans

July 13th, 2008 - 2:03 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party
By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, July 13 (IANS) CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury met British Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch-Brown here and briefed him about Left plans in India’s unfolding political scenario, British sources said. Foreign office sources told IANS that the meeting took place Thursday — the same day Yechury’s colleague Biman Bose told a group of diplomats, bankers and government officials that the Marxists could shake hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if the latter dropped its religion tag.

Yechury chose to visit London in the midst of the political maelstrom in India, apparently because the dates had been fixed many months in advance.

The London visit was on the invitation of the British foreign office, but Yechury and Bose — both senior figures in the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) — also took time out to hold a meeting of their own.

Bose did not attend the foreign office meeting.

Yechury’s meeting with Malloch-Brown, a senior minister who looks after South Asia in the foreign office, came in the backdrop of remarks by Bose that the India-US nuclear deal was aimed at “bailing out” the Republican Party in the coming US elections.

Briefing his exclusive dinner guests Thursday at a plush London hotel, Bose hinted at a global reason for the Left’s withdrawal of support to the government over the nuclear deal.

“The (popularity) rating of George W. Bush in the US has gone down to 28 percent. This has never happened before in history. The lowest used to be 38 percent - now it is 28 percent,” said Bose.

“In that political scenario, the government of India is going to bail out George W. Bush by signing the nuclear agreement,” he said.

This was Yechury’s second visit to London in less than a month.

The surprising absence of the CPI-M’s most recognisable face at the time of a political crisis back home set off speculation that the Marxists are divided over withdrawing support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

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