M A I N   N E W S

Congress not untouchable, says Buddha
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, May 11
Addressing a press conference today, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee announced that after the elections the CPM would consider the proposal of joining the government at the Centre provided if they get to play a meaningful role in policy making and implementation.

Asked whether the CPM considered the Congress to be untouchable, Bhattarcharjee said, “We don’t believe in untouchability,” adding, “We are trying to form a Third Front government at the Centre with like-minded secular and democratic parties and the Left will play a meaningful role in it.”

On May 18, the politburo as well as the central committee, would hold meetings in New Delhi for reviewing their poll performances when they would decide whether to join the government or to once again support the UPA government, Bhattacherjee said.

“At present, we are busy in defeating both the BJP and the Congress so that an alternative secular government could be formed at the Centre. We are also negotiating with some of the partners of the NDA and the UPA for bringing them to a common platform against the BJP and the Congress,” Bhattacharjee said.

He said, on behalf of the party, both Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechuri had been talking to leaders of several parties.

The Chief Minister said they had no differences in the politburo about their political stand towards the Congress. “We all stand united on the question of ousting both the BJP and the Congress and the formation of an alternative non-BJP and non-Congress Third Front government and Karat had been talking about our present pre-poll stand towards the Congress,” he said. The Chief Minister was replying to mediapersons during the “meet the press” session at the Calcutta Press Club today morning. He was confident in this elections, they would have substantial number of MPs for playing an important role in the Lok Sabha.

Referring to Singur and Nandigram, the Chief Minister alleged that the problems there had been created with political motives by the Opposition led by Mamata Banerjee. He said he had nothing to apologise for the Singur issue.

Instead, he demanded that the leader should be held responsible and accordingly punished for the shifting of the Nano project to Gujarat. But for the Nandigram killing, the Chief Minister said he was ready to apologise to the people thousand times.

Bhattacharjee criticised Pranab Mukherjee and other Congress leaders for making an electoral alliance with Mamata Banerjee against the Left whose support the UPA needed for their survival in the government during the past five years.

He said after the elections, both Sonia Gandhi and Pranab would have to repent that they had joined hands with the TMC in the Lok Sabha polls against the Left.



Left was ready to support N-deal: Baru

New Delhi, May 11
Left parties were ready to support the Indo-US nuclear deal, if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh let them take credit for a “better” version of the controversial agreement forced by them, but backed off later, former adviser to PM Sanjay Baru has said.

A senior Left wing leader had put forward the compromise that suggests the Left has “helped secure a better outcome than what the Prime Minister was capable of securing from the Americans,” Baru told BBC.

“Clearly, Singh was willing to stoop to conquer,” Baru said, indicating that the Prime Minister was ready to let the Left take credit for a final version of the deal.

"We will say that it is our stand in the Parliament that forced the government to negotiate a better agreement. This way, we can support the agreement and at the same time be seen distancing ourselves from the Congress and the Prime Minister,” the Left leaders were saying, according to Baru, who was the then media adviser to Singh.

However, the “compromise formula was rejected by the hardliners,” he said adding that Singh “had no option but to show the iron fist in his velvet glove.” — PTI



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