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CPM in a spot on ceremony

New Delhi, May 23: The CPM will decide tomorrow whether its MPs will attend Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, the delay suggesting the party is in a quandary.

“MPs are being invited, it seems. We will decide tomorrow,” general secretary Prakash Karat said in a text message, asked whether the party would join the Monday programme to be held on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

A similar dilemma had assailed the comrades in 2009 when Manmohan Singh was sworn in for his second term. The Left’s relations with the Congress were strained after the communists withdrew support to UPA-I government over the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008.

But politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury had hit the headlines by attending the ceremony against the party’s wishes. No other CPM parliamentarian did.

Yechury refused comment when asked today whether he would be present at Modi’s swearing-in, saying he had not received the invite yet and repeating general secretary’s Karat’s line that a decision would be taken tomorrow.

Surjya Kanta Mishra, Opposition leader in the Bengal Assembly and a politburo member, said late this evening that no “CPM leader from the state” would attend. The party has two Lok Sabha MPs from the state.

CPM insiders said the politburo would meet tomorrow and discuss the political fallout of attending or abstaining from Modi’s oath-taking ceremony.

Some leaders argued, however, that the party would not achieve anything by boycotting the programme and, therefore, was likely to decide in favour of attending.

“A swearing-in is not a political function. The CPM is part of parliamentary democracy and so it would not look proper to boycott the programme without any valid reason,” said a party leader.