Pranab tells Basu why UPA-Left split


Kolkata : External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee met Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) veteran Jyoti Basu Sunday and told him why, in the view of the Congress, the alliance between the Left and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) broke up.

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Mukherjee told reporters after a 20-minute meeting with Basu at the latter’s residence: “I explained to him why the alliance collapsed.

“We consider Basu and (former CPI-M general secretary Harkishan Singh) Surjeet the architects of the alliance. As UPA’s leader in the Lok Sabha, I considered it my responsibility to meet Basu and explain to him why the alliance broke down.”

Mukherjee, also a member of the Congress Working Committee, said when he met Basu after becoming the UPA’s leader in the Lok Sabha, the Marxist told him to ensure that the alliance lasted a full five-year term.

“Whether the government lasts or not will be decided by the trust vote (in parliament). But as the alliance has crumbled, it is my duty to brief him (Basu) on the developments,” Mukherjee said.

The CPI-M and its three allied parties in the Left took back their legislative support to the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the India-US nuclear deal.

Basu, who was chief minister of West Bengal for 23 long years starting from 1977, is a key leader of the CPI-M. In 1996 he was offered the post of prime minister at the head of a centre-Left coalition but the CPI-M vetoed the idea.