Demanding the resignation of Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Planning Commission Vice-Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia for ''mismanaging'' the country's economy, leading to unprecedented price rise, fall in industrial production and collapse of the Public Distribution System (PDS), he told a press conference here that ''it has become incumbent upon the Left parties to review its relation with the Centre.'' ''However, no timeframe can be fixed for reviewing support...we don't decide on the basis of electoral considerations,'' he underlined.
''We have not backtracked on the nuclear issue. The UPA regime cannot go ahead and sign the deal,'' he made it clear, alleging US President George W Bush was mounting pressure on India to sign the deal ahead of the elections there. This was not a singular example of how the Centre was acting under USA's pressure, he claimed.
The CPI leader, who is also the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary, was here to mobilise support for the August 20 General strike called by major trade unions to protest the neo-liberal economic policies of the Manmohan Singh government.
He said ''The time has come for Mr Chidambaram and Mr Montek to decide whether they should continue in office after totally mismanaging the economy.'' Urging all sections of people to participate in the general strike, he claimed that the prices of petroleum products had escalated not because of rise in international crude oil price, but following the high rate of central excise, customs duty and sales tax on petroleum products.
The Centre lacked the political will to tax the rich, he alleged, adding the stagflation in industrial production meant more distress for common people in the form of job and wage cuts.
Contending that the Left parties, extending crucial outside support to the Manmohan Singh government, could not be held responsible for its policy decisions, he said ''all policies are framed by the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Planning Commission Vice-chairman. They never listen to us.''