Left knew why Aiyar was shifted out

New Delhi: CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat has said the Left, which provided outside support to the UPA-I, was aware that Mani Shankar Iyer was shifted out of the Petroleum Ministry in 2006 as he was pursuing energy policy which the Americans did not like.

Karat said the Left parties, which conveyed their displeasure to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for pursuing pro-US policies, however, did not come public on the issue of Aiyar`s removal as it was a Congress government and "they can bring anybody they want."

"It is 100 per cent true and that same cable says the Left is going to be infuriated by this reshuffle," Karat told Karan Thapar on Devil`s Advocate.

He was reacting to a question on cables accessed by `The Hindu` in which David Mulford, the then US Ambassador to India, had said that he believed that the cabinet reshuffle in 2006 when Iyer was replaced by Murli Deora as Petroleum Minister was done to enhance Indo-US relations.

Asked how did he know, it is 100 per cent true, Karat said, "Because we knew it. We knew why Mani Shanker Iyer was shifted out of the Petroleum Ministry."

Aiyar was removed from the Petroleum Ministry "because of the energy policy he pursued and they brought a pro-American person (Murli Deora) into the ministry replacing Mani Shankar Iyer."

"His efforts to bring the India-Pakistan-Iran pipeline to fruition…his efforts to bring an alternative energy grid…his talks with China…all this we knew that`s why he was being shifted out," he said.

"We strongly objected to that," he said.

Karat also said, "The entire Cabinet reshuffle or the expansion brought, as the cable points out, people closely associated with the US."

Asked why did not the Left at that time protest in the public, he said, "Why should we protest in the public? We conveyed our displeasure to the Prime Minister on the Iran policy and on the IIEA vote. We cannot interfere in the cabinet making but we made public responses."

Karat said the Left parties went on record on policy matters from July, 2005 when the Prime Minister went to Washington "on every issue which concerned policy and individual cabinet."

"We don`t comment publicly because we are not in the government, we are not the part of the coalition," he said.

He also said, "…It`s not our government, it is Congress` government…they can bring anybody they want."

"We are not a coalition partner that is why we withdrew support because of the continuous pro-US…," he said.

The CPI (M)-led Left parties are the only parties in the country, which fought against the US policies, "when the entire corporate media were pro-American, when the government was pro-American, when the Congress leadership was pro-American and surrendered to America," he said.