The Communist Partyof India-Marxist perhaps for the first time admitted to differences in the party over withdrawal of support to the United Progressive Alliance government on the Indo-US nuclear deal, though the central committee said it was "correct".
The party also felt that calling for building a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative government at the Centre was "unrealistic" for which general secretary Prakash Karat took personal responsibility along with the central committee members. Several leaders, mainly those from West Bengal as well as CPI general secretary A B Bardhan, had said that the withdrawal of support on the nuclear deal could have backfired and cost them in the elections. "There is near unanimity on the withdrawal of support in our party. On the question of timing, earlier also there was a discussion that we should have done it (support withdrawal) earlier," Karat told a press conference in New Delhi. Karat, who was seen as mainly responsible for pushing the line on withdrawal of support, used the words "near unanimity" when he was asked whether the Central Committee approved the withdrawal decision and its timing. "Starting with the withdrawal of support to the UPA government in 2008, our Central Committee is of the firm opinion that it was correct and necessary in in view of the fact that the government was going ahead with the strategic alliance with the US. "There was no option but to withdraw support," Karat told media-persons briefing them on the deliberations at the two-day central committee meeting that concluded on Sunday.
The statement issued after the Central Committee meeting said they were of the firm opinion that the withdrawal of support to the UPA government on the nuclear deal in July 2008 was correct. This was consistent with Left's stand against forging of a strategic alliance with the US, it said. The statement also described as a "correct tactic" the CC's call for the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative, but it failed to be a "viable and credible alternative at the national level". Critically reviewing these efforts, the CC felt that it should not have extended the call for building such an alternative to the formation of an alternative government. In the absence of a country-wide alliance and no common policy platform being presented, the call for an alternative government was unrealistic, the statement said.
Karat took personal responsibility along with 86 members of the Central Committee for the setback suffered by the party in the Lok Sabha polls. "I, as the general secretary, have taken the responsibility for implementing the decisions of the Central Committee (CC). To that extent, I am also responsible along with the CC," Karat told a press conference. He was asked whether he would take personal responsibility for the "unrealistic" position the party took in calling for the non-Congress, non-BJP alternative to form government at the Centre in the absence of a countrywide alliance. The CC noted that there was "some erosion of support" among the rural and urban poor, as well as the middle class, in Bengal. There were shortcomings in the functioning of the administration in Bengal and Kerala and "certain wrong trends" within party organisation which affected its performance in its bastions.