NEW DELHI: With about a month to go for the scheduled visit of U.S. President George W. Bush to India, an anti-Bush mood appears to be setting in with the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party voicing opposition to the visit and planning a "Go Back Bush" campaign.
The parties have also expressed their resentment at the U.S. Ambassador David Mulford’s "arrogant effort" to influence India’s stand on the Iran issue. The Samajwadi Party and the former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, demanded recall of Mr. Mulford for his comments.
The Samajwadi Parliamentary Party, in its meeting held here on Friday, unanimously decided to launch large-scale protests against Mr. Bush for his anti-Iran and anti-Iraq policies. The meeting was chaired by party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and attended by MPs from both Houses of Parliament.
Demanding recall of Mr. Mulford for his recent remarks on the India-U.S. nuclear deal, the party said India would stand up to any threat held out by an official of the U.S. Government.
Samajwadi Party general secretary and spokesman Amar Singh said: "We take strong exception to the remarks made by Mr. Mulford threatening India to vote against Iran. An Ambassador’s job is not to threaten. He should be expelled immediately."
After a meeting here on Friday, the Left parties reiterated their stand that India should not support any resolution referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council at the IAEA Board meeting. The Left parties decided to write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the stand India should take at the Board meeting on February 2 and 3, asking him to ensure that India does not vote in favour of any such resolution that takes the matter to the world body.
A statement to this effect was made by CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan to reporters after a meeting of the parties here.
Emerging from the meeting, attended by CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI National Secretary D. Raja, Forward Bloc leaders Debabrata Biswas and G. Devarajan, Mr. Bardhan said India should not support the game played by the U.S. and the European Union at any cost.
The Left parties, while expressing strong resentment at the U.S. Ambassador’s "arrogant effort," asked the Government to make public the proposals handed over to the U.S. about the separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities.
Taking strong exception to the remarks of the Ambassador, former prime minister V.P. Singh said it was a "case of superpower arm-twisting." Talking to reporters here on Friday, Mr. Singh said India had never accepted such tactics. "The Government should stand up and ask for the replacement of the U.S. Ambassador in New Delhi, if he has acted on his own."
Mr. Singh said it had become clear that the U.S. wanted to use its promises made in the India-U.S. agreement to squeeze out benefits in other fields outside the agreement. In his view, the development warranted review of the agreement. "A clear signal should go to the U.S. that while we value their friendship, we can never act as a puppet in their hands. While we want to be friendly, we refuse to be dictated [to] ," he said.
The Left parties also discussed Mr. Bush’s visit and decided to go ahead with their protests. "We have asked our Delhi units to mobilise people in a very big way for holding a demonstration on March 2. If he goes to Hyderabad we will organise protests there also," Mr. Bardhan said. He also asked the national platform of mass organisations and all like-minded outfits to participate in the "Go Back Bush" campaign, to be launched and supported by the Left parties.
The Samajwadi Parliamentary Party resolved that the party would give a "befitting reply" if Mr. Bush visits the Taj, the symbol of love and peace.
"Delhi or Agra, we will organise protests against him and his capitalist policies. His hands are soaked in the blood of innocent people of Iraq. We will also oppose any move for him to address members of Parliament in the Central Hall," Mr. Amar Singh said