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Basu does a volte-face
Says ready to face poll
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, October 8
Veteran CPM leader Jyoti Basu, who have been actively arguing against the Left parties threat to withdraw support from the Manmohan Singh government, today did a volte-face and declared that they would face the elections if held now.

According to party sources, Basu said this as party’s strategy to counter Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s “threat” to the Left parties on the nuclear deal issue, which she had expressed at a United Nation’s meeting in New York three days ago and also at a rally at Jhajjar in Haryana yesterday.

Gandhi had accused the Left parties of acting against the country’s interests. She had said the Congress was not interested in pleasing the Left on the nuclear deal issue. Instead, she asked the Congress men to get ready for the elections.

However, at a press conference held at his Salt Lake residence today, Basu said he still wished the support was not withdrawn from the union government and a snap poll to the Lok Sabha was not held.

Instead, he stressed that the UPA and the Left should continue to work jointly for some more time since the BJP and other communal forces were still active in many places and could gain politically if the government falls at the Centre.

The party patriarch said external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee met him at his residence yesterday and they had some detailed discussions on the issue.

“Pranab also wants us not to withdraw support now and he has assured that the deal will not be finalised at the forthcoming meeting of the IAEA. He said at the meeting he would seek some more time for consulting with other partners ,” Basu said.

Basu said he had advised party general secretary Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechuri to see if some compromise formula could be evolved for avoiding a snap poll. But he did not know if his advice would be honoured, he added.

The Politburo would meet on October 18 to review the political development and decide on the withdrawal of support.

Basu said they would be soon facing panchayat elections in the state and the party would be preparing for that.

“We all want that the Lok Sabha elections be held after the panchayat polls. But if the elections were thrust upon people, we would be facing it boldly”, Basu declared.

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