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With UPA win, Karat headed for trouble

Indrani Roy Mitra in Kolkata | July 22, 2008 15:10 IST
Last Updated: July 22, 2008 20:09 IST

A split in the Communist Party of India-Marxist may be likely now that the United Progressive Alliance win the confidence motion.

If political analysts and party insiders are to be believed, the CPI-M would soon be divided into two easily identifiable groups: Pro-Prakash Karat and anti-Karat.

An alliance in crisis

"Some veteran party members are only awaiting the trust vote result. Should the United Progressive Alliance government win, (CPI-M General Secretary) Prakash Karat and his team will be in for some rude shocks," say party insiders.

A series of events in the past few weeks have led to the rise of anti-Karat sentiment in the CPI-M, especially in West Bengal.

Karat's critics had two main issues: Voting against the UPA with the 'communal' Bharatiya Janata Party and putting pressure on Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to resign.

Non-communal BJP? You must be kidding!'

And in both these matters, Karat and his men's alleged 'highhandedness' has not been liked by some of his party men.

"The way he put Speaker Chatterjee's name in the list presented to the President while withdrawing support to the UPA government is not only unConstitutional but also uncalled for," says social activist and political analyst Sunanda Sanyal.

"None can deny that Chatterjee used to be a CPI-M MP once. But now, that he is the Speaker and the Constitution make him an independent entity, above any party line whatsoever," Sanyal adds. "No one believes that Karat was not aware of it when he wrote that letter to the President."

"Therefore, the Speaker's stand has not only made him a hero in Bengal CPI-M's anti-Karat lobby but also has ensured for him a place in an anti-Karat faction when it emerges," he says.

Deal or no deal, the Left would have withdrawn'

Sanyal's views are echoed by a section of CPI-M leaders in Kolkata who blame Karat for the "huge political mess" where the Left would have to vote along with the BJP to oust the government.

It goes without saying that the anti-Karat section of the CPI-M in Bengal shares close ties with party patriarch Jyoti Basu. The Basu faction has not forgiven Karat for leading the opposition to the Marxist veteran becoming prime minister in May 1996.

'In politics there are moments when you have to rise to the occasion'

Should the UPA win the trust vote, Karat and his men will have to chalk out a strategy to face Basu loyalists led by Somnath Chatterjee and West Bengal minister Subhas Chakraborty.

'I am not interested in barking or biting!'

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