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Prakash Karat, please speak up!

In a case of rather uncharacteristic silence, Prakash Karat, the eminent general secretary of the Communist Party of India, has refused to utter a single word condemning the recent dastardly act of heckling the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee by CPI-M whole-timers and SFI activists in New Delhi. The incident that took place on Tuesday, 10 April, in which Banerjee and her state finance minister Amit Mitra were roughed up by marauding protesters outside the gates of the capital’s Planning Commission office, has been panned by the rank and file of the political fraternity. Even the West Bengal CPI-M leaders, including former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Suryakanta Mishra and Biman Bose wasted no time and promptly castigated the untoward and barbaric behaviour of the party cadres and their student affiliates. Yet the national leadership of the Left parties, that usually leaps to its nimble feet to comment on any issue, be it of national or international significance, has been conspicuous in its reluctance to say anything with regard to the calumnious display of unchecked wrath by the CPIM party cadres and their student sympathisers. Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, who are otherwise known for they savvy remarks that are couched in high octane words of Marxist wisdom, have considered it unnecessary to express even a passing regret about the vicious occurrence that embarrassed the political top brass in Delhi, causing Manmohan Singh and Montek Singh Ahluwalia to express deep distress as Banerjee’s and Mitra’s plight.

While Mamata Banerjee recuperates in a private clinic in Kolkata, questions need to be asked as to how is it that a protest rally leading to such vindictive and atrocious incident was allowed to happen without the CPIM top brass knowing about it? Who had orchestrated the protest against Banerjee and Mitra, given that party wholetimers such as Ritabrata Banerjee, Debabrata Das and others were driving the rally, who are not in the slightest the innocuous SFI activists on whom the entire blame is now being put. While Karat and Yechury jump at how current Chinese leadership would alter the world affairs, or how American military presence in Iraq and Af-Pak is wreaking havoc in the region, they have stunned both the political classes and the national media by refusing to budge from their high thrones of ideological doggedness and issue an unambiguous apology. Banerjee, who is emotionally driven at times, is bound to be moved by such a gesture, which is both expected and necessary at this juncture. Besides, an apology from Karat and Yechury would also soothe the flared nerves of TMC cadres and millions of Banerjee’s supporters, who are seething with anger at the mistreatment that their leader had been subjected to, that too in the national capital. The political morass that we find ourselves in at present, wherein a mass leader of opposition and a state chief minister of Banerjee’s stature is manhandled by ruffians not far away from the central seat of power, speaks volumes about the crisis of leadership and ethical bankruptcy that’s eating the system from inside.
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