We can sort out certain sensitive issues with the Left, we can put aside certain economic reforms, but there will not be day-to-day skirmishes with them, a senior Congress leader tells Sheela Bhatt
There is a view within the Congress party to seek common ground with the Left parties and negotiate for their support in the remaining two years of the United Progressive Alliance government.
A senior leader from Maharashtra, who is close to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, both, told rediff.com that the Left party leaders were much better when they were supporting the UPA-1, than Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
"They fought on ideological issues. They never came with a list of demands. They could have got the best of ministries but they remained outside the government," he said. "The Congress should let Trinamool Congress go, enough is enough. Her tantrums are never-seen-before in politics. Mamata is not allowing anything positive to take shape in this government. We can sort out certain sensitive issues with the Left, we can put aside certain economic reforms, but there will not be day-to-day skirmishes with them."
The TMC has 19 members in the Lok Sabha and nine members in the Rajya Sabha. While the Left parties (Communist Party of India-Marxist, CPI, All India Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party) have 22 members in the Lok Sabha and 15 members in the Rajya Sabha.
There is a clamour in the Congress party for Banerjee's blood after her astounding snub to top three Congress leaders in a press conference with Mulayam Singh Yadav on June 13 where she presented three choices for the President's post that included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. After her direct insult to Dr Singh and Pranab Mukherjee and her challenge to Sonia Gandhi and the Congress in the presidential poll, Congressmen feel the party's slow reaction is not tenable.
However, there are many obstacles for the Congress to get the Left parties' support and dump Mamata. Right now, the Congress and UPA are both talking from a position of weakness. Second, any formal political move with the Left parties means a guaranteed setback to economic reforms.
Even within the Left, while the West Bengal branch of the CPI-M may be ready to deal with the Congress in New Delhi, the Kerala outfit would resist or bargain too hard. And, not to forget, the CPI and CPI-M will have major differences on various issues.
More than anything else, if and when the Left parties try to save the UPA government whenever Mamata exits, a section of the CPI-M would be extremely reluctant to support Dr Singh who gave them a hard time during the Indo-US nuclear deal controversy. They may ask Sonia Gandhi to replace the prime minister before lending an helping hand.
That will not be an easy option for the Congress even though Dr Singh has been politically hurt, irrevocably, in the current political and economic crisis.