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Left-UPA: Divorce after 4 years of troubled ties

July 08, 2008
The Left-UPA divorce on Tuesday capped a tumultous relationship on several thorny issues -- ranging from the Indo-US nuclear deal to the rising prices of essential commodities and the government's inclination to open up financial and retail sectors to foreign direct investment.

After agreeing with the UPA's Common Minimum Programme and extending their support to the Congress-led coalition when it came to power, the Left continued to maintain that the government should not deviate from it.

The trouble became pronounced when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made his first official visit to the United States in July 2005 and signed a joint statement with President George W Bush, which the Left said was taking India closer to the American strategic interests.

Singh's visit had followed that of then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee who had signed the Indo-US Strategic Defence Framework Agreement, which led to increasing military ties and joint exercises between the two defence forces.

The Left, which had been opposing the government's "neo-liberal" economic policies, opened another front against its foreign policy while accusing it of ignoring the CMP.

In the context of the rising inflation graph, the outside supporters made a series of recommendations, including banning of futures trading and slashing of taxes and duties on oil products, but complained that their views were not considered by the government.

Image: US President George W Bush with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York in September, 2004 on the sidelines of the 59th United Nations General Assembly meeting. The prime minister's insistence on signing the nuclear deal with the US was the main cause of the UPAs break with the Left
Text: PTI | Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Also read: The Indo-US nuclear tango
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