RSP exits UPA-Left panel, CPM downplays impact

RSP exits UPA-Left panel, CPM downplays impact
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First Published: Mon, Jun 02 2008. 11 07 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Jun 02 2008. 11 07 PM IST
Though the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, sought to downplay the Revolutionary Socialist Party, or RSP, pulling out of the UPA-Left Coordination Committee on Monday by saying that the forum was already “defunct”, Forward Bloc, another constituent, said the move would weaken the Left Front.
Polls are due in six state assemblies this year in the run-up to the general elections in 2009.
“The RSP’s decision is not unjust as it was taken after an assessment of the situation in that party,” Forward Bloc general secretary Ashok Ghosh said. He, however, said it would weaken the Left Front not only in West Bengal, where it has suffered reverses in the panchayat elections, but also in the country “at a critical time”.
The CPM, for its part, dismissed as “defunct and ineffective” the UPA-Left Coordination Committee and said it made little difference whether to continue in it or not. “The committee ceased to function a year and a half ago. The last meeting was held in November 2006. I really don’t understand the purpose of announcing withdrawal from an already defunct committee. The understanding within the Left has been that this committee is not functioning any more,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said.
On being asked if its just a symbolic gesture, he said: “Whether or not it is a symbolic gesture is for the RSP to decide.”
RSP leader and Rajya Sabha member Abani Roy dismissed suggestions of this merely being a symbolic gesture. “The committee might be defunct but (it) is not dead. We are taking one step at a time. We are trying to convince other Left parties to withdraw support from this government but if they don’t, we might have to think of doing so unilaterally,” he said.
Listing a series of “failures” of the government, particularly on containing price rise, the RSP hoped its “first salvo” at the Congress-led coalition would force other Left parties to have a re-think about continuing support.
However, the party, which has three MPs, will continue to be on the UPA-Left committee on the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying its presence was necessary for blocking the agreement.
“We are dissociating with the functioning of the government which has become alienated from the people. We have come to a conclusion that providing support to the government is not conducive,” RSP general secretary T. Chandrachoodan said after a two-day meeting of the party’s central committee. Roy, the RSP nominee in the coordination committee, will not attend its meetings from now, he said. The coordination committee has not met for the past some time.
“People will ask us why we are continuing our support to an anti-people government. This question will be raised by people to the CPM and other parties also. We hope this will force them to withdraw support,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India refused to comment.
(‘PTI’ contributed to this story.)
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First Published: Mon, Jun 02 2008. 11 07 PM IST
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