People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 23, 2004
Approach To Govt Will Depend On CMP
THE Left parties have decided not to participate in the forthcoming Congress-led secular government at the centre but render it outside support, as that will leave scope to dissociate with any decisions/policies the government may take with which they disagree. At the same time they asserted that they will not, at any cost, give opportunity for the BJP to pull down such a government.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India and All India Forward Block announced this at a joint press conference in Banga Bhavan on May 17. This was decided at a meeting of the Left parties held at CPI(M) headquarters, AKG Bhavan, earlier in the day. Another constituent of the Left Front, the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) attended this meeting but could not give their decision as their central committee meeting was scheduled to meet on May 18 in which they would discuss this issue. They would inform other Left parties of their decision.
CPI(M) general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet, Polit Bureau members Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary A B Bardhan, national secretary D Raja, AIFB general secretary Debabrata Biswas, national leader Devrajan were present at the jam-packed press conference. This joint decision came after the conclusion of the CPI(M) central committee meetings earlier in the day.
Surjeet while announcing the decision of the Left parties also made it clear that in what way the Left would associate with the forthcoming government would depend largely on how the efforts to arrive at a common minimum programme (CMP) would conclude. "If we are satisfied with the CMP, then only other issues like being part of coordination committee etc would be decided. CMP will be an important test, based on which our approach to the government would be finalised", said Surjeet.
Surjeet congratulated the people of the country for decisively rejecting the communal combine and asserted that the mandate was for a secular government which would defend the interests of the working people.
Answering questions, Surjeet said the Left parties appreciate the concerns expressed by various progressive intellectuals who were pressing the Left to join the government. But he pointed out that in practice cooperation with bourgeoisie parties posed difficulties to the Left especially in regard to implementing economic policies. Asked why the Left is not involved in drafting the CMP, Surjeet clarified that what the Congress committee led by Manmohan Singh is drafting right now is only a draft CMP which would be circulated among all supporting parties for their suggestions. This may be done in a day or two, said Surjeet.
Reacting to another question, Surjeet clarified that the support for the Congress-led government would not be conditional but the Left association with it would be. Asked about Samajwadi party being invited by him to Congress supporting parties meeting, Surjeet said that it had been the Left view that all secular parties must be involved in the selection of prime minister and that it had been achieved.
Surjeet dismissed a questioner’s fear that the contradiction between the Left and Congress in Kerala and Bengal would result in the downfall of the Congress-led government. He made it clear that there would be no problem on this account even when the two states go to assembly polls two years later.