Home > Asia-Pacific, Politics > India: 24 Karat Crisis

India: 24 Karat Crisis

Sankarshan Thakur writes in Tehelka:

As rifts go, the nuclear deal is bad enough. There could be worse in store for the UPA government if the CPM’s Prakash Karat has his way.

For several hours on the night of August 13, it appeared that Manmohan Singh’s upa government had suddenly, and improbably, arrived at the brink. Alert to the acid-burn between the Prime Minister and cpm boss Prakash Karat over the Indo-US nuclear deal, the bjp had hurried with a vote resolution in the Lok Sabha. Leader of the Opposition LK Advani, sensing opportunity, had done the unprecedented: he had called Karat and sought the Left’s cooperation on the vote. But that didn’t bother too many. Advani is a fleet and astute player, the innovation was typical of him. What set the wires in the pmo jangling was that Karat took the call. Reticent, reclusive, deeply antipathetic to the bjp, Karat is known not even to indulge political allies too often, too much. That he got on the line to probably his biggest adversary was a sign. The pmo read portents all over it. Are they really going to pull out? Is this the end? It was so unlikely for Karat to have spoken to Advani that it provoked apocalyptic questions. Those asking them had a good sense they were not overestimating the crisis, even as they were desperate to blow it away.

This was the culmination of two days of nasty jousting between the Prime Minister and Karat. In an unlikely show of knuckles, Manmohan Singh had dared the Left to pull his government down. “I told them (Karat and the cpi’s AB Bardhan) that it was not possible to renegotiate the deal,” he had told The Telegraph of Kolkata. “It is an honourable deal, the Cabinet has approved it, we cannot go back on it. I told them to do whatever they want to do, if they want to withdraw support, so be it…”

Karat’s counterblast had come from faraway Thiruvananthapuram. “The deal is unacceptable and there is no going back on that… Yes, this government does run on our support, but it is the job of the Congress to save it, not ours.” Thereafter, nothing from Karat until the news that he had spoken to Advani. And thereafter, nothing on what he had spoken to Advani about.

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Categories: Asia-Pacific, Politics
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