The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Karat will push, not shove, on Iran
- CPM threatens to put govt in dock if it votes with US, demands House debate

Calcutta, Feb. 10: The CPM today said the Left parties are prepared to “put the government in the dock’’ if the UPA insists on voting for a referral of Iran’s nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.

At the CPM’s two-day politburo meeting that ended today, party general secretary Prakash Karat said the Left would demand a debate on Iran in Parliament and that the UPA government should go by the consensus that emerges. However, sources said the CPM is unlikely to ask for a debate that entails voting.

“If the UPA doesn’t listen to us, the government will be put in the dock in Parliament. We will bring the government to its heels,” Karat said.

The CPM politburo reiterated that India should not be party to any move in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for referring the Iran nuclear issue to the UN. The next meeting of the IAEA is on March 6 and the Left wants a debate before that.

However, Karat ducked questions on what he meant by saying that the Centre would be put in the dock.

Asked whether his threat amounted to a review or withdrawal of support to the UPA, he said: “We are not part of the UPA government. But we have got to look after national interests. The UPA can’t afford to take us for granted.

“It’s not a question of issuing threats but one of greater coordination between the UPA and Left. We will attend the coordination committee meeting and register our protest. It should not be the case that discussions in the meeting would not find reflection in government decisions.”

The CPM general secretary added that all Left parties would review the UPA government’s performance.

The Left’s recent decision to tap “like-minded” parties in the UPA coalition for setting up a “joint platform’’ is being perceived as a move to form a pressure group to reverse decisions taken at the cabinet level.

The two-day politburo meeting saw a consensus on the CPM’s electoral tactics for the upcoming Assembly elections in Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu. However, it failed to sort out its Kerala dilemma ' whether the party should tie up with K. Karunakaran, who has broken away from the Congress.

Karat and politburo member S.R. Pillai are slated to visit Kerala to hold talks with the CPM’s state committee. The party’s Kerala unit is in favour of an alliance, but most politburo members are against it.

As for Bengal, the politburo has given its nod to the CPM’s list of candidates for the polls. The Left Front will meet on Thursday to give its opinion, after which the names will be released.

Addressing today’s politburo session, the CPM general secretary expressed apprehensions with regard to reports that there could be an unofficial ground-level alliance between the Congress, the Trinamul Congress and the BJP in Bengal.

On FDI in retail and airport privatisation, the politburo stuck to its earlier stand and threatened more agitation.

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