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Bengal minister questions CPI-M's stand on N-deal

July 14, 2008 17:55 IST

In the first spark of dissent within the Communist Party of India - Marxist on its stand on the India-United States nuclear deal, West Bengal's maverick Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty on Monday said that it would be contrary to the party line if the party shared floor with the Bharatiya Janata Party during the trial of strength in Lok Sabha.

Virtually questioning the party's move to vote against the United Progressive Alliance government, Chakraborty said, "The line adopted in the last party Congress in Coimbatore was of keeping communal forces at bay and the BJP had been identified as a communal force. Now, if such a situation arose. wherein we have to share floor with the BJP to defeat the UPA government, I will not be happy."

"In that case, we have to give explanation to the people for a long time to come," he said.

Turning to the reported move by the party to seek the resignation of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Chakraborty, regarded as a protege of CPI-M patriarch Jyoti Basu, said, "The post of Speaker has its sanctity and it is above party politics. Chatterjee was elected unanimously by the members of all political parties".

"The Speaker's case should not be viewed as a CPI-M party affair," he said.

Describing the present political situation as 'very complicated', Chakraborty said, "the issue is debated by the people. The leadership which is responsible for creating such a situation should explain it to the people".

Chakraborty said he would speak as well as write to party general secretary Prakash Karat about the matter.

Asked for his views on the Speaker's resentment -- that he was not consulted by the party before putting his name in the list of Members of Parliament -- which was submitted to the President, Chakraborty said he was not in a position to comment on the issue.

He said if Chatterjee had made such a comment, this was an expression of his mind.

Asked whether he was going against the party line by publicly airing his views, Chakraborty said he always followed the party line. ''But I have my views and I shall talk to the party general secretary on these issues,'' he said.

On how his political mentor Jyoti Basu viewed the entire situation, Chakraborty replied, ''You better ask him.''

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