“Backing UPA candidate is a grave error which will harm party”

The CPI(M) has expelled Prasenjit Bose, convener of the research unit of the party who had questioned the leadership’s decision to support UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential elections.

Mr. Bose resigned from the party on Friday stating that backing the candidature of Mr. Mukherjee was in violation of the Political Resolution adopted at the 20th Party Congress held in April. It had prescribed that the party should politically fight the Congress and the BJP.

Terming the decision a “grave error which will harm the party and disturb Left unity,” Mr. Bose said the party had been committing one mistake after another since 2007. He listed “coercive” land acquisition in West Bengal, the Nandigram police firing and allowing the UPA government to approach the IAEA with the nuclear deal as some of the mistakes by the leadership.

“The same leadership is committing yet another costly mistake, refusing to learn anything from the past.”

The Polit Bureau, in a statement, rejected Mr. Bose’s resignation and charged that the contents of the letter maligned the political line of the party.

After an intense debate marked by differences within the party, the CPI(M) on Thursday said it had decided to support Mr. Mukherjee on the logic that he was the candidate who had the “widest acceptance.”

At the same time, the party made it clear that it would continue to oppose the UPA government and resolutely fight its “neo-liberal economic policies” which were against the interests of the people.

The Left parties are divided on the stand in the Presidential election. While the CPI(M) and the Forward Bloc have sided with Mr. Mukherjee, the CPI and the RSP decided to abstain.

The NDA, which had hoped that the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, would contest, was left with no option but to back the candidate sponsored by the BJD and the AIADMK, P.A. Sangma, after Mr. Kalam declined to contest.

Indications are that the Trinamool Congress’ decision to oppose Mr. Mukherjee and pressure from the West Bengal unit influenced the thinking of the CPI(M) on the Presidential election.

In his letter, Mr. Bose had said: “The disruption of Left unity, following the Polit Bureau’s decision, also goes counter to the stated objective of strengthening the Left unity and the alliance of the Left and democratic forces.

“What was the pressing need to extend support to a Congress candidate even at the cost of breaking Left unity? Such brazen violation of the political line by the party leadership within less than three months of the party Congress is bewildering. There is no explanation as to whether the political situation has changed since April, and if so, how?”

He said if the consideration of the CPI(M) was that the strength of the Left in the electoral college was numerically too weak to field its own candidate against both the Congress and the BJP-backed candidates, then the natural choice should have been to abstain from the polls. “That is the stand adopted by the CPI and the RSP and it is an eminently reasonable, transparent and principled position.”

Mr. Bose argued that the criteria of “widest acceptance” adopted by the CPI(M) was a peculiar argument because the present acceptance of Mr. Mukherjee’s candidature cutting across party lines, from the ruling Congress and the DMK, which were neck-deep in corruption and venality, to the communal-chauvinistic Shiv Sena, had something very sinister about it.

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