Keep communal forces under control: Bardhan

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Pudukkottai (Tamil Nadu), Mar 1: Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary A B Bardhan has urged all ''secular parties'' to unite under one banner to prevent ''communal forces'' from coming to power again taking advantage of the dissatisfaction among people against the omissions and commissions of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government.

Inaugurating a four-day Party State Conference here yesterday, Mr Bardhan warned that communal forces were posing a challenge.''The Bharatiya Janata Party has a 'Prime Minister-in-Waiting. He will remain waiting. Even in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa was moving closer to the BJP. Secular forces should unite to prevent communal forces and parties supporting them from coming to power in the states and at the Centre,'' he said.

Criticising them he said they were trying to use faith as a means of gaining votes. ''The Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) was sought to be stalled in the name of faith. We agree faith should be respected, but oppose it being used for getting votes,'' Mr Bardhan said.

''The SSCP should be executed, whatever be the alignment, as it will benefit the country and Tamil Nadu. The Centre should not dither anymore on the matter,'' he added.

Referring to rumours on the possibility of the Lok Sabha elections being advanced to October/November this year, Mr Bardhan said the CPI was ready to face elections whenever it was held. He urged his party workers to strengthen the CPI in Tamil Nadu to repeat the spectacular victory of the last elections under the DMK-led alliance.

Mr Bardhan also criticised the UPA Government for continuing with the policies of liberalisation and globalisation which only 'widened the rich-poor divide.' ''They speak of inclusive growth. But the country is witnessing tremendous poverty, hunger and rising unemployment on one side, while a group of corporates and affluent people are accumulating wealth. Is this distributive justice?'' asked Mr Bardhan.

Referring to the Union budget, he said loan waiver for farmers would only result in the closure of rural banks and strengthen private money lenders over the next few years.

The Finance Minister ignored the Left's demands for setting up a Debt Relief Commission and reducing the interest rate on agriculture credit to four per cent, he said.

The government came nowhere near allocating six per cent of the GDP for education and three per cent for health sectors, as laid down in the Common Minimum Programme, he claimed.

The government conceded in its economic survey that the economic growth rate was just at 8.7 per cent against its prediction of a double digit growth, the CPI leader said and called upon the people to continue their fight against price rise and unemployment.

The conference, in its resolutions, hailed the efforts of Tamil Nadu Government for implementing a comprehensive water supply scheme at Hogenekkal and wanting it to be extended up to Chennai via Vellore.

It urged the centre to ban online trading immediately and check black marketing of food items. The government should ensure supply of all essential commodities through fair price shops.

In an another resolution, the party urged the Union Government to waive off all farm loans besides issuing fresh advances at a lower rate of interest, to ensure Rs 1,000 per quintal of paddy as minimum Support Price, effective crop insurance scheme for all farmers and renumerative price for agricultural produce.

The party also wanted the Union Government to solve inter-state water disputes and implement the SSCP at any cost. The conference also wanted the government to play a vital role in solving the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.

UNI

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