Before the deal... Pranab Mukherjee was still placating the Left leaders back then. Above, after a Left-UPA meeting.
An essentially ideological battle—two competing visions of the future, if you like—has got personalised into a stand-off between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat. So much so that it seems almost impossible today that the next government will be big enough to accommodate both of them. But will their parties permit it? Manmohan Singh is the ruling Congress’s officially declared prime ministerial candidate; Karat is the prime mover of the Third Front. Can they come together again, despite the current war of words?