The ghost of the Indo-US nuclear deal returned to haunt Prakash Karat on Thursday as the CPM general secretary came under criticism from Bengal delegates at the party congress here. They argued that the tactics and strategy adopted by the central leadership for blocking the deal were incorrect,paving the way for the Congress-Trinamool tie-up that proved to be disastrous for the party in its citadel.
The crux of their argument put forth by former Bengal finance minister Asim Dasgupta was that the leadership had made mistakes in taking decisions. Among them was withdrawal of support to UPA I,which was taken without considering ground realities and political situation in Bengal. But Karat stuck to his stand saying that snapping of ties was a correct decision,but admitted it should have been done earlier before the government going to the IAEA.
The Bengal comrades,however,would not engage in the timing of the withdrawal debate. They argued that the leadership erred in assessing the situation and failed on several counts. It is other matter that it was the same Bengal leaders who had advised the top brass against withdrawing support on an earlier occasion citing panchayat polls.
At the root of the continuing war of words is the question on who will take the blame for the defeat in Bengal. The central leadership argues that organisational lapses and deficiencies in governance are the reason. The confidential political organisational report circulated to the delegates makes it clear.
Consider this: There were various shortcomings in the performance of the Left Front government in the recent years…They pertain to public distribution system,health,education,rural electrification and other developmental and welfare measures. Some of the programmes and schemes were not taken up for implementation. The deficiencies in basic services and their delivery caused discontent among the people, it says in page number 16 of the 281-page report. It adds: The organisational aspect is also an important factor. The image of the party amongst the people has been dented by manifestations of high-handedness,bureaucratism and refusal to hear the views of the people. The existence of corruption and wrong doing among a small strata of party leaders and cadres due to the corrosive influence of being a ruling party and running the government for a prolonged period was also resented.
The report lists out other reasons for resentment among the people,such as links with real estate promoters.
Sources said it was not just Bengal delegates,the leadership came under fire from members from other states as well. It is learnt that the leaderships decision to join hands with Mayawati and Jayalalithaa to present an alternative to the Congress and BJP in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls came under harsh criticism from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra delegates.