Manmohan to deliver A B Bardhan memorial lecture

Singh has accepted the invite and will deliver the lecture on 'Defence of Secularism and Constitution' on September 25, the birthday of the CPI stalwart who died on 2 January, 2016. Activist-journalist P Sainath will be another speaker.

Amid the growing relationship between the Congress and the CPI, the Left party has invited former prime minister Manmohan Singh to deliver A B Bardhan memorial lecture in the national capital next week.

Singh has accepted the invite and will deliver the lecture on "Defence of Secularism and Constitution" on September 25, the birthday of the CPI stalwart who died on January 2, 2016. Activist-journalist P Sainath will be another speaker.

The invite comes at a time when there is an increasing bonhomie with the Congress and the CPI, with the latter making it clear that it is ready to do business with the Rahul Gandhi-led party, though the dominant Left party CPM is still hesitant due to inner-party fight over the issue.

The invitation also set tongues wagging as the Left parties were critical of Singh's economic policies, which heralded the liberalisation process, as finance minister during Narasimha Rao's regime. Both the camps had a bitter divorce in 2008 over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Asked about Singh's presence despite opposing his economic policies, a senior CPI leader said the Left had worked with the top Congress leader during the UPA regime and there was nothing wrong in inviting him.

"Singh shared a special relationship with Bardhan even after the fallout over the nuclear deal. We are together fighting the fascist RSS-BJP. So there is nothing unusual in the invite or him accepting it," the senior leader said.

Sources said the CPI leadership approached Singh in early August with the idea and he accepted it later. While they considered several names, sources said, Singh was zeroed in as the CPI leadership felt that a leader of his stature should deliver the memorial lecture.

"We thought about inviting economists, sociologists or other academicians from other streams but we felt a leader of the stature is the best," the CPI leader said. Last year, a small function was held at CPI headquarters  - Ajoy Bhavan.

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Manmohan to deliver A B Bardhan memorial lecture

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