The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letter salve after snub

New Delhi, May 22: The Left parties did not attend the Manmohan Singh government’s anniversary event this evening, but made clear they would support it for the next four years.

Invitations from the Prime Minister’s Office reached the Left parties this morning. By the afternoon, they formally declined the invitation with the assurance of being stable allies.

“I wish you all success on the occasion of the completion of one year of the UPA government and for the implementation of the common minimum programme in the coming year to meet the people’s aspirations,” wrote CPM general secretary Prakash Karat.

“We look forward to our continuing cooperation in this endeavour,” he said, signalling a stable relationship.

The Left leaders said that even at earlier interactions they had mentioned their inability to attend observance of the anniversary.

“I thank you for the invitation to attend the meeting of the UPA co-ordination committee and dinner thereafter. Our party’s position on this has already been made clear,” said Surjeet, who made way for Karat recently.

Senior politburo member Sitaram Yechury also wrote a separate letter to the Prime Minister assuring “support and co-operation”.

There never was any doubt that the Left, at least the CPM, would not attend the ceremony, though much was being made of the issue.

While it is unlikely that the CPM would ever be present on any such occasion, the current circumstances put its participation beyond the realm of possibility. Civic polls are under way in Bengal where it is pitted against the Congress. Next year, Assembly polls are due in Bengal and Kerala.

There are also differences over economic policy, reforms in particular.

Which is why the letter from the Left leaders pointedly wishes the Prime Minister success in translating the common minimum programme (CMP) into action in the coming year.

The message is that the CMP was the basis for coming together a year ago and so long as the Congress keeps its word on the action plan laid out in it, the CPM would support it.

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