Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has described the July 22 exercise in the Lok Sabha as a “betrayal” vote on many counts. It alleged that the trust vote was taken to endorse Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s betrayal of the assurances given to the Left parties on how the United Progressive Alliance government would proceed with the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal.

“If the brazen horse-trading was not indulged in, then it is clear from the figures of the MPs who have crossed over or voted against their party whip that the numbers for the ruling coalition were only 268, two short of the tally of 270 belonging to parties that issued a whip to oppose the motion, leaving aside three independents. Such political immorality constitutes yet another betrayal of the nation,” the party organ People’s Democracy said in an editorial in the coming issue.

It said the brazen display of currency notes spoke volumes of the sordid bargaining and horse-trading that happened behind the scenes to ensure the government’s victory. “The Prime Minister may have won the vote, but his government has lost the trust of the nation.”

Noting that a large number of BJP/NDA members had voted in favour of the government or abstained, the editorial wondered whether the BJP/NDA had turned a blind eye to allow the government to win the vote and, in the bargain, allowed some of its MPs to make money.

In yet another score, the editorial said, the people were betrayed. While the runaway inflation and the relentless price rise were imposing an unprecedented burden on the common people, the UPA government was completely pre-occupied with pushing ahead with the nuclear deal only to please the Bush administration and convert India into the U.S. imperialism’s subordinate ally. Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech in the Lok Sabha where he accused the Left parties of wanting to treat him as a “bonded slave,” the editorial wondered why it took him four years in office on the strength of their support to hurl such charges.

It said the Prime Minister and the UPA government should have been a “bonded slave” to the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), on the basis of which the Left parties had supported the government. “Only because of the pressure of the Left parties did the rural employment guarantee, forest rights for tribals, the right to information find a legal status. On each of these, the Manmohan Singh government showed a great deal of reluctance and their implementation is tardy, inadequate and mired in large-scale corruption.”

Reiterating the Left stand that the deal would be an autopilot once it was approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors, the editorial said the Left had “very openly and transparently argued its case of showing how this deal is against our national interest.”

The editorial said a “rigged majority through brazen horse-trading” could not be considered an endorsement of the nuclear deal. “The UPA government has, thus, no moral authority to carry forward the deal.”

It said the nationwide campaign of the Left parties, launched on July 14 to explain to the people the dangers inherent in the nuclear deal to India’s sovereignty and independent foreign policy, would be intensified with the cooperation of all non-BJP parties.

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