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Home > India > News > Interview

The Rediff Interview/CPI general secretary A B Bardhan

'Sooner or later, India would come in Left grip'

June 16, 2008


A B Bardhan
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Communist Party of India general secretary A B Bardhan minces no words while rejecting critics' claim that the Left has meekly given in to the pressures of Congress and that it has lost its relevance.

In an interview to rediff.com's Onkar Singh, Bardhan reiterated the Left parties' willingness to go along with the United Progressive Alliance and ensure that the next Lok Sabha elections are not held before March 2003.

He exuded confidence that given the compulsions of keeping the non-secular parties out of power, the present combination will once again be voted to power. However, he said that the Left parties would continue to oppose the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, just like other issues that they felt went against national interests.

Some excerpts from the interview:

The Left parties were expected to take up the issue of price hike very strongly. But that does not seem to have happened. All you had was a token strike.

I do not know what you mean by a token strike. We held a bandh in West Bengal and other Left-ruled states. What more can we do than to bring people on the streets. Other parties are also raising the issue. What use is politics if people do not take to the streets over issues that affect them. It would be a total misreading of the situation if someone says that all that the Left is doing is issuing statements.

Didn't the Left parties threaten to withdraw support to the UPA government if it went ahead with increase of petroleum prices?

It is already June 2008. We have raised the issues as effectively as we can. Now these issues are before people. Let them decide.

Are you playing along with the Manmohan Singh-led government?

No, we are not playing along. We are continuing our struggle. We are pointing out errors in the government's policies.

The prime minister has gone on record saying that nuclear weapons could end up in wrong hands. Do you agree? Even National Security Advisor MK Narayanan had made a similar statement in Munich.

NSA is his advisor and the statement attributed to Narayanan come from prime minister. I do agree with the prime minister � there is always a danger of the nuclear arsenal falling into wrong hands so long as there are nuclear weapons. The best thing is to go for disarmament. Does the prime minister have the courage to take a decision?

What is left to discuss in your meeting with UPA on the nuclear deal?

Nothing except for not signing the nuclear deal with US. And we will take the same stand that we have been taking uptil now. Nothing has come up that would make us change our stand.

Is it true that you are avoiding confrontation?

What purpose does it serve if we have confrontation for confrontation's sake? It is irrelevant to ask when elections would take place. They have to take place after eight or nine months. Many parties are already in the election mode -- so is the Left, but we do not make much noise about it.

What is your agenda going to be?

Our agenda will be to move the economic policies to the left. We shall bring about economic growth but not development, as it has not brought about change in the lives of the people. Some other parties are now talking of inclusive growth. In the system of capitalism, people are excluded.

Do you believe that Left still has a role to play?

Of course. In last five years, communists are ruling Latin America and sooner or later India would also come in its grip. Capitalism is no solution to the food security. As I said India will not be an exception.

Revolutionary Socialist Party leader Abani Roy recently stated that the Left had become irrelevant...

I do not know what he said. A lot of things are said in front of the camera. So I cannot comment on what he said and what he did not.

Do you see BJP's upsurge in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls?

I do not see any upsurge in favour of BJP. Once they imagined that India was shining just because they were in power. Now they have named someone as prime ministerial candidate. If they have won some states, we (the alliance partners) have also won states too. We are not afraid of calling spade a spade.

Who do you think will lead the Congress party?

I am not sure if Dr Manmohan Singh [Images] will have another term.


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