This time, the Indian Communists will skip the ceremonial banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan for the visiting US president Barack Obama. Instead, the four Left Parties are planning anti-US protests on January 24, the day before Obama lands here.When contacted, CPM politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury said he would be away in Kolkata on January 25, when president Pranab Mukherjee hosts the banquet for Obama.But, according to party sources, the Left parties had decided to hold protests against US “imperialism” and “military interventions” in other countries and none of its leaders would be attending the dinner. Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said invitations had been sent to all political parties.During his visit in 2010, Obama had expressed his pleasure to meet an Indian Communist at the Rashtrapati Bhavan banquet. When Yechury was introduced to him, Obama had said “I am glad to meet an Indian Communist. I am told that Communists have been part of the political mainstream.” Yechury told him that the Indian Communists have always been in the political mainstream in the country.Though the Left parties did stage protests during the US president’s visit, a ritual almost for the Communists, CPM and CPI leaders had made a departure from traditional practice by attending Obama’s speech in Parliament and the banquet.CPM mouthpiece “People’s Democracy” in its editorial released on Friday said the invitation to Obama by the Modi government conveyed “a strong signal to the world that India is cementing its position as a “subordinate ally” of US imperialism. “This is a significant shift that will shape the demise of India’s long held faith in pursuing an independent foreign policy. While India has and shall continue to develop friendly relations with all countries in the world, India’s foreign policy must always be dictated by its `enlightened national interests,” the crux of which is the solidarity with the developing world in resisting global domination by any power.”The CPM, which had taken the lead in opposing the nuclear deal between India and the US, is also opposed to any dilution in the liability law. Party leaders have said that India should not give in to “pressure” from the US and dilute the liability clauses.During the visit of US president George W Bush in 2006, the Left parties, which were then an outside supporter of the ruling Manmohan Singh government, had taken to the streets across the country protesting Washington’s policies, particularly regarding interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the Left had taken a softer approach towards his successor Obama.
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