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People want Left to join government: Somnath

May 14, 2004 23:59 IST

Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Somnath Chatterjee on Friday said people wanted the Left to join the Congress-led government at the Centre.

But he said that a final decision on joining the government would be taken by the party.

"I am receiving telephone calls, even from abroad, expressing opinion that the CPI-M should join the central government for stability and pro-people economic programmes," Chatterjee said during an interaction on Doordarshan.

To repeated queries if his party would commit the same mistake, described by Jyoti Basu as 'a historic blunder' in 1996 when CPI-M spurned the offer of prime ministership, Chatterjee said, "Personal opinion is not important in our party. Our party's politburo and Central Committee will meet in Delhi to decide on the issue."

He said that in 1996 the majority opinion was against joining the government and that had been honoured. "But it is a different situation now," he added.

The veteran parliamentarian said there should be a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for the new government and there should be 'pro-people economic policies'.

Referring to the stunning defeat of Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, he said it was reminiscent of the 1977 rout of Congress government, when people's anger against the Emergency was vindicated in the verdict.

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