At a time of political turmoil in India, where the Communists withdrew their support for the Congress led UPA Government in Delhi – which could lead to the rapid decline of the UPA and trigger a general election, we organised a private dinner for Comrade Biman Bose, Chairman of the Left Front, Member of the CPI (M) Politburo, and West Bengal Secretary of the CPI(M) with key political commentators and other opinion formers in London.
Regardless of what one makes of his party’s position on crucial subjects like the India – US Nuclear Deal, it was refreshing to hear him speak, and you had to appreciate the simple fact that he knew that he’d be in for a hard time on the evening but was nevertheless keen to engage.
Despite the meeting being billed as ‘off-the-record’, he reversed this by agreeing to speak ‘on-the-record’, and since then has been at the centre of a story that’s found wings in which the journalist reports that the CPI(M) is willing to work with the BJP. A scoop!
Knowing political culture, both parties are sworn enemies but it doesn’t surprise me that they’re willing to speak with each other. One only has to look back at the toppling of the VP Singh Government in which both played a significant role in toppling that Government. For this reason, we shouldn’t be surprised.
With elections scheduled for early next year, If I were Sonia Gandhi, I’d be tempted to call an election sooner rather than later. Right now, they can make mischief by casting the BJP as the stumbling block to the country’s development by their objection to the nuclear deal. Later on, the effects of the slowing economy, double digit inflation etc are going to hit them for six. They’ve already lost key states and with several other key elections scheduled across India this year, which they’re guaranteed to lose – they don’t stand a hope in hell in returning back to office.
It was great to organise the Communist outreach in London. One of our guests even commented that it was good to hear Comrade Bose’s views at such an eventful time in Indian politics.
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