Prakash Karat after announcing the withdrawal of support to the UPA government on Tuesday. Picture by Rajesh Kumar
| Pratibha Patil
New Delhi, July 8: Left parties today began preparations to target the UPA government, starting with efforts to defeat a confidence motion in the House and a nation-wide campaign from next week.
As the four Left parties snapped their ties of four years and 47 days with the Centre, they began working on campaign material, statements and meetings. The protests, which start on July 14, will target the government on its foreign policy, price rise and help to the communal forces.
The Left, set back by rural and civic poll reverses in Bengal, believes the nuclear deal issue can help it contain the damage by working to its advantage in the eastern state as well as in Kerala.
But the CPM, CPI, Forward Bloc and the RSP appear unclear on one question: can there be an understanding with the Congress after the next election to keep the communal forces away from power and, if yes, what will its terms be?
Fighting communalism remains a core political objective with the CPM.
Also, the CPM is yet to decide whether party MP Somnath Chatterjee will continue as Lok Sabha Speaker. The party would like to watch the situation for a while, CPM sources said.
The Left will formally withdraw support tomorrow, a day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets President George W. Bush in Japan, the first foreign country CPM general secretary Prakash Karat visited on a scholarship during his days as a student.
Another coincidence is that the pullout was finalised on the 94th birthday of CPM patriarch Jyoti Basu, one of the key players in the efforts to install the UPA government four years ago.
The decision to withdraw support was made swiftly today. Some 30 minutes into a meeting, an emissary was sent to foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee with a letter disclosing the intent to pull out.
Further, your proposal for a meeting on the 10th is rendered meaningless since the Prime Minister, while travelling abroad, has chosen to announce that the government will be going to the board of governors of the IAEA very soon, the letter, which Karat later read out to the media, said.
As you are aware, the Left parties had decided that if the government goes to the IAEA board of governors, they will withdraw support. In view of the Prime Ministers announcement, that time has come.
Karat told reporters an appointment had been sought with President Pratibha Patil tomorrow to complete the formalities. The President has fixed the meeting for noon, a PTI report said.
The letters will read: This is to inform you that our party is withdrawing support to the UPA government and a list of the MPs belonging to our party has been enclosed, a senior Left leader said, according to the agency report.
The leader said the four parties had to hand in separate letters since each had sent a separate letter of support to the UPA in 2004. We will give a fifth letter
requesting her to ask the Prime Minister to seek a vote of confidence, PTI quoted the leader as saying.
Left sources told The Telegraph they understood that the Congress-led government could make up the numbers.
But we will vote against the government, and there are parties like the Telugu Desam Party and others with us, a CPM leader said.
Today, a Left statement criticised the Centre for keeping the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards text a secret and not providing clarifications on subjects such as an assured nuclear fuel supply.
Tomorrow, the four parties will issue another statement to explain why they are withdrawing support.