Left to interact with UNPA for third alternative: Bardhan

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 2: CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan today said the Left was thinking of a broad based third national alternative to the Congress and the BJP. The people had tested the policies and programmes of the Congress and the BJP, which wanted to make the system a bi-polar affair, but it seemed to be unreal following the presence of many regional political parties, he said at a news conference here.

Both Congress and BJP had ruled the country alternatively and the situation in India had deteriorated under their regime, he said. The Left, Mr Bardhan said, would like to be in touch and interact with the United National Progressive Alliance(UNPA) for such a democratic alternative, which would be programme-oriented. To a question, the CPI leader said the Left would prefer Mr Mulayam Singh to Ms Mayawati for the alliance as the latter had a ''unilateral political agenda'' in Uttar Pradesh.

He hinted that a new programme would be worked out before the next elections to give a shape to the Left and democratic alternative to the people of the country.

Mr Bardhan made it clear that the Left would strongly oppose any move to increase the prices of petroleum products and said even the government claim for a marginal hike in the prices would have a spiral effect resulting in the hike of prices of other essentials. The CPI leader said the household budget had already been increased by 25 per cent and a further rise in the petroleum products would hit them hard.

The government, he said, instead of increasing the prices of the petroleum products, should go for reduction of the excise and custom duty to keep the price under control.

On the government decision to allow FDI in several sectors, including mining, Mr Bardhan said such a decision would lead to unrestricted rights of the multinationals over the mineral wealth of the country leading to the plunder of the minerals.

States like Orissa possessing rich mineral deposit would be badly affected as the mineral resources would be exploited without any value addition.

On Finance Minister P Chidambaram's claim that the economic growth would be 9.6 per cent, Mr Bardhan said the so called economic growth had not led to the improvement of the standard of life of the common people.

UNI

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