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Political rift fails to dent PM-Karat relations

Saubhadri Chatterji in New Delhi | January 26, 2009 08:59 IST

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Among all VIP messages wishing him quick recovery, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] may cherish the most the one sent by Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Prakash Karat [Images].

On Saturday evening, as the PM underwent a bypass surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Karat sent him a personal message with flowers, wishing him speedy recovery and good health.

In the political arena, the CPI-M general secretary still holds Dr Singh primarily responsible for clinching the civilian nuclear agreement with the US, a decision that forced Karat to withdraw the Left support from the United Progressive Alliance government last July.

He maintains the Left parties were "cheated" by Dr Singh's government and the Left will campaign hard on this issue in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

But now, as the 76-year-old prime minister hopes to quickly regain life's momentum, Karat has his best wishes reserved for him.

His message may be one among the hundreds from the political block, but it is the most significant one because it also reveals an important aspect of Karat the person. He might still be angry with Dr Singh the politician, but this political opposition in no way stops Karat from booking a seat for the prime minister in his personal space.

Top sources in the CPI-M also point out that while many believed that Karat had snapped all direct ties with Dr Singh after the bitter fallout of the Indo-US nuclear deal, they actually maintain an unpublicised contact. When Jammu and Kashmir [Images] turned volatile over the Amarnath land row last year, Dr Singh held a long talk with Karat and asked for his suggestions to tackle the situation.

It was just after a few months of Karat's withdrawal of support to the UPA government. Although Dr Singh didn't care for the Left support in Parliament to pass the government's pet legislation and also knew that in many other areas Karat would strongly oppose him, but as the Amarnath land issue turned into a major crisis, the prime minister did not hesitate to consult the pragmatic communist. Karat has also written two open letters to Dr Singh recently on the Satyam [Get Quote] fraud and gag on TV channels.

While the top leader of the CPI-M is maintaining healthy relations with the head of the government, other CPI-M leaders have also started interacting with their publicly estranged partners in the Congress. During the past one month, Sitaram Yechury [Images] -- a prominent CPI-M politburo member -- met a senior Congress leader at least twice to discuss the current political situation.

As Yechury entered the bungalow of the Congress leader after a long time, his aides were delighted. One of them shook hands with Yechury and asked, "Why did you stop coming during the last few months?" The witty communist quipped: "Don't [Images] worry. Now we will meet regularly."



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