New Delhi, July 31: The CPM and the Congress have hammered out a tentative formula for a coordination committee that is expected to give more leverage to the Left to stall policies it does not favour.
A final decision on the configuration of the panel will be taken after the Congress discusses the formula with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who returned from Bangkok tonight.
CPM patriarch Jyoti Basu discussed the formation of the panel with Congress president and coalition chairperson Sonia Gandhi this morning for 30 minutes. Politburo member Sitaram Yechury was also present.
According to the tentative formula — if it is finally cleared unchanged – the co-ordination committee will have 12 members. Six members will be from the Left parties — the CPM, the CPI, the Forward Bloc and the RSP — and two from the Congress — Singh and Sonia.
However, a question mark hangs over the remaining four members. Sources said these members could be sourced from a “floating” category according to the demands of the issue being discussed on a particular day.
Immediately after the meeting between Sonia and Basu, Congress leaders suggested that the four members would be chosen from the party by Sonia in consultation with the Prime Minister. The names of Pranab Mukherjee, P. Chidambaram, Ahmed Patel and Ambika Sonia were mentioned as possible candidates.
However, late in the evening, a party spokesperson clarified that the issue of the four members was still open.
He said Sonia in her capacity as the coalition chairperson would nominate the members. This suggests that the Congress may be ready to accommodate some of the coalition partners.
Yechury said the CPM has left it entirely to the Congress to choose the remaining nominees.
“We will announce a final decision on the committee tomorrow,” he added.
But the Left parties are not keen on restricting the co-ordination committee to an arrangement between themselves and the Congress. They prefer the inclusion of allies like the RJD, the NCP and the DMK.
The Left overcame its initial reluctance and agreed to join the coordination committee after finance minister P. Chidambaram included proposals to ease foreign investment norms in insurance, telecom and aviation.
The finance minister will now have to clear all contentious issues with the panel where the Left, as a cohesive group, has dominance.