The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Guest toes host’s line

Calcutta, Aug. 31: When in Bengal, do as its comrades do.

Prakash Karat seems to have stuck to Roman etiquette on his first visit to Calcutta after the nuclear storm broke in the capital.

Opposition to the agreement did not necessarily mean “toppling the UPA government’’ and forcing mid-term elections, the CPM general secretary said at a party programme today, mindful that his colleagues here are not keen on snap polls.

Karat, however, remained silent on what the CPM’s strategy would be in November when the International Atomic Energy Agency reconvenes.

“As of now, I don’t think there is any possibility of the government toppling. Our party wants to give time to the government,” he said.

“Yesterday, we arrived at some understanding with the UPA. It is good that a committee is being constituted. We don’t want the government to proceed (on the deal). Our party will wait for the next few weeks to see what the committee does. We don’t want to go beyond that right now.”

Karat also called on Jyoti Basu, who had earlier ruled out snap polls.

“It’s not a case of who won or who lost. The UPA is setting up a committee. A decision will be taken after taking note of the committee’s findings,” Karat said at the airport.

CPM state secretariat member Shyamal Chakraborty agreed with Karat.

“Earlier, the government didn’t want to have any talks with the Left parties. Now that the UPA wants discussions, we need to give time to the government for reconsideration. That way, Karat is right in what he is saying,” he said.

But Karat did keep the UPA government on notice, iterating that imperialism was no less evil than communalism.

He said the CPM had kept the government going because of political priorities and to keep communal forces at bay. “But I must say that the UPA should not misjudge us. To us, imperialism is as dangerous as communalism. We are opposed to all aspects of the Indo-US strategic alliance.”

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