Left seeks full Winter Session of Parliament

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New Delhi, Oct 17 (UNI) Accusing the Manmohan Singh government of undermining the dignity of Parliament by shortening the duration of its sessions, Left parties today demanded a full-fledged Winter Session to debate the unprecedented price rise, terrorism, government approach to global meltdown and attacks on religious minorities.

They made the demand when pointed out that the BJP has sought rescheduling of dates of the extended session of Parliament for effective discussion on various issues. But CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said there is no constitutional provision for rescheduling it.

Seeking the presence of the Prime Minister in the country during Parliament's session in view of important issues being taken up by it, the Left leaders said his going away to Japan and China during the session amounts to diluting the significance of the institution.

"While we welcome his foreign visits but Parliament should not become its casualty," CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury said while briefing the media on the joint meeting of 4 Left parties.

The Lok Sabha session, which began today, has been described second leg of the House proceedings which had started on July 21 when Dr Singh had moved a motion seeking confidence of the House on the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement. The Congress-led UPA coalition had secured the House majority with the support of Samajwadi Party after the four Left parties bloc had withdrawn support.

Asked to comment on reports alleging that the Government might curtail the current session and go for general elections to avoid embrassment on hot issues exercising the minds of people of the country, Mr Yechury said,"We will not allow the government to do so.

It can not run away from its responsility to Parliament to which it is answerable".

He demanded immediate cut in prices of fuels in view of 50 per cent decline in the price of crude in the international market from 140 to 67 dollar per barrel.This will help ease inflation to a large extent, he added.

On Government's approach to global financial crisis, he said its policies would spell more trouble for the Indian economy if it went ahead with privatising pension funds, increasing threshhold of foreign direct investment in insurance sector and permitting foreign banks to buy upto 74 per cent equity in private domestic banks.

Mr Dasgupta charged Home Minister Shivraj Patil with soft-pedalling on terrorism. He said world financial distress has already led to loss of 15,000 jobs in the information technology sector. "India is in the grip of recession... industrial production has come down ... wage cut and further loss of jobs are on anvil".

UNI KSA-SAA RP NS1716

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