Seven years after the Left parties withdrew support from the Manmohan Singh government on the issue of the Indo-US nuclear deal, the CPI(M) on Sunday acknowledged the bad timing of the step and its failure to make the deal an election issue.
The party’s new General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said that in retrospect, the Left parties should have linked the withdrawal of support to the government with people’s issues such as price rise.
Yechury had told PTI in a recent interview that the Left should not have withdrawn support to the government on the issue of nuclear deal but clarified that there was no option but to withdraw support on the issue.
However, he acknowledged that the Left parties could not make it an election issue.
Yechury maintained during the interview that the party’s decision to oppose the nuclear deal was correct.
“We said that this was not the issue (to withdraw support). We reviewed it later. In hindsight, we have said we could not make it a people’s issue (in the elections). It should have been a people’s issue like price rise and the UPA abandoning the ‘aam aadmi’ perspective,” Yechury said.
“And it was also the timing (of withdrawal) for which we also self-criticised. But the issue of (opposing) the nuclear deal, we have no regrets and we think is correct.”
By going ahead with the nuclear deal, it was a signal that the UPA wanted to jettison the Left, he said.
The nuclear deal was not part of the UPA’s Common Minimum Programme, but there was “tremendous pressure on India to be a subordinate ally of the US strategic interests in the world. We have been vindicated on this,” he said.
Yechury was replying to a question on the decline of the Left forces including CPI(M) after the 2009 elections and whether snapping ties with UPA on the Indo-US nuclear deal was a mistake.
While the Left got 64 seats in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, its numbers fell to 24 in 2009 and 10 in the 2014 polls.
In 2009, the CPI(M) Central Committee had said in its poll review: “The decision to withdraw support to the (UPA-I) government when it decided to go ahead to operationalise the nuclear deal was correct.
“It was based on our understanding that the Party cannot support a government which is entering into a comprehensive strategic tie-up with US imperialism in which the nuclear deal was … ‘the cementing factor’. However, we could not mobilise people on the nuclear issue and rally them during the election.”