Inflation to impact government's survival- Left

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New Delhi, May 18 (UNI) Outraged by the spiralling price rise, the Left parties today lambasted the UPA government for its "total failure" to contain inflation and warned that it would pose a threat to survival of the government in the long run.

They said the Congress was fast losing its mass base on account of inflation and it would be reflected in the Karnataka Assembly polls, the third phase of which ends on May 22.

The inflation rate touched a 44 month high at 7.83 on the week ended May 3. The government, trying to combat inflation, has been pursuing a tight money policy and has restricted exports of essential commodities and liberalised imports to increase domestic supply. Its efforts, however, has not borne fruit.

Top Left leaders told UNI that the joint meeting of the left leaders here on May 23 is likely to take some hard decisions against the government and its four-year performance would be thoroughly "reviewed" CPI Deputy General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said, ''the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister owe an explanation to the nation on the price front.

''They can't escape the responsibility.'' Stating that the government would have to take "firm action" and act upon the Left's suggestions, Mr Reddy said, failing this inflation would continue to rise and hit the poor and the larger sections of society.

Mr Reddy said the Congress was fast getting "isolated" on the price front and already paying the political cost.

''The Congress will pay even greater political cost and the issue will pose a serious threat to its survival," the CPI leader said, obviously pointing to the November Assembly polls the year-end and the general elections next year.

CPI (M) Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe said the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister have no inkling of the ground realities and that their wrong economic policies had led to this "worrisome" situation.

"I don't think the Congress will fare that good in the Karnataka polls," Mr Pandhe said, adding if the government wanted to survive it would have to change the economic policy orientation and direction.

The Marxist leader said the May 23 meeting and the Party's Central Committee meet on May 29-30 was going to be ''crucial''.

Forward Bloc national Secretary G Devarajan took a dig at Dr Singh's and Mr Chidambaram's regular statements that inflation would come down and their appeal to the people to bear with the government for the time being, saying, "This is a cruel joke on the countrymen." Mr Devarajan said the Left meet would also critically review the their "silence" on US President's George Bush holding India and China responsible for global price rise because of their more consumption of foodgrains.

" We can't accept this situation, he added. " The Left leaders maintained that even though there is no immediate threat to the survival of the Congress-led coalition, the Left would send a "strong warning and signal" to it.

They also did not believe that the BJP could exploit the people's discontent and anger against the Centre on account of high inflation and rise in prices of essential commodities and that people by now knew very well that both the Congress and the BJP perused the same economic policies and that both are "anti-worker and anti-people''.

"This is why we want to built a third alternative," Mr Pandhe added.

UNI KSA AKJ RP HT1057

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