New Delhi: Hinting once again towards the Centre’s bid to strengthen ties with US at any cost; CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat reveals that he was aware of the reason behind shifting out Mani Shankar Iyer of the Petroleum Ministry in 2006.

Adding feathers to speculations to the various under-table dealings adopted by UPA to enhance Indo-US relations, Karat said that Aiyar was shifted because 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 said while speaking to a news channel.

He was reacting to a question on cables accessed by a daily newspaper 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.

He said, “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.”

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

Asked why the Left did not 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 response."

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."

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.