UPA II? Buddha Says Left May Join Government

A day after low to moderate polling was recorded in Phase II of the elections to nominate the 15th Lok Sabha, West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said that history of 2004 may not repeat itself in totality in 2009 and hinted that all prospects were open to Left Front which could join the government after results for the polls are declared on May 16.

“We are not committing anything. We are now busy with the task to defeat both the Congress and the BJP. After elections, when the situation will arise, we will discuss on the concrete situation at that time. Not now,” CNN-IBN quoted Bhattacharjee as saying during the course of an exclusive interview to the channel.

Maintaining that 2009 was not the same as 2004, when the Left Front refrained from joining the UPA Government, but lent it crucial outside support.

“History does not repeat itself. What happened in 2004, I don’t think it’s going to get repeated again,” he was reported to have told the channel.

Exercising caution, Buddha – as he is popularly known – did not rule out the possibility of the Left joining the government after elections and said that such a step – now validated by the party – would be taken at an appropriate time and situation.

He clarified that his differences with Premier Manmohan Singh were based on the latter’s policies and iterated that there was nothing personal about them.

“It is not the question of an individual. It is a question of policies. Americans are trying to take us under their umbrella and we are going for a strategic partnership with America–economic, political and military. This is dangerous, he said.

“The Left will never support this position. I have differences with the Prime Minister on these issues. Not as an individual. He is a knowledgeable economist and a man of integrity but his pro-American policies I do not like,” he stressed, providing a sneak preview of what a UPA II vision document, commemorating the coming together of the estranged allies, could look like.

He categorically ruled out any prime ministerial aspirations and stressed that he was happy to perform in West Bengal before adding: “This is my individual opinion,” ostensibly implying that like any good comrade – the party decision – would be of supreme importance to him.

The politically astute suggest that Bhattacharjee’s claims, which are a stark contrast to CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat’s remarks ruling out prospects of a post-poll alliance with the Congress, may have been invoked by the low voter turnout in the crucial second leg of the five phased electoral battle.

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