Not very happy to part with Left: Manmohan Singh

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On Board Air India One, Oct 26: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that he was not very happy to part with his 'left collegues' with whom he said 'we can find ways and means to work together'. PM's comment came four months after the Left parties withdrew their support to the UPA government on the nuclear issue.

''In my view, India is faced with difficult problems. All parties which are committed to secularism and nationalism must work together to deal with communal and regional divide which is being sought to be created by some anti-social elements,'' he said while speaking to mediapersons on his way back from a five-day tour of Japan and China on Saturday, Oct 25 night.

He said there were issues which required all political parties ''which think alike to sit together and I very much hope we can find ways and means to work with our Left colleagues.'' Dr Singh, however, disagreed with a questioner who pointed out that the decision of the Left to withdraw its support to the government was in some way seemed to be sound because they opposed reforms in the banking and Insurance sector.

''I am afraid I don't agree. Strengthening India's banking system, strengthening India's insurance system has enabled us to deal with the crisis more effectively.'' The Left parties withdraw their support to the government on July 9 after the government refused to accept their demand that it did not proceed further on the Indo-US Nuclear treaty.

When asked about the early Lok Sabha polls PM said that polls will be held 'on schedule' and the early adjournment of Parliament have nothing to do with this. He told to presspersons that the Parliament was adjourned two weeks ahead after consulting major parties.

''This is not a decision of the government alone. This decision has been taken after full consultation with the main opposition party and other political parties,'' he said. Manmohan Singh added that the parties are in election mode as polls are scheduled for five major states like Jammu Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Mizoram. Also he said that the Parliament has agreed to meet in December.

Regarding the communal violence in nation, Manmohan Singh expressed anguish and said that there was a feeling that action was taken only against on community. He said ''I am very sorry that such a feeling exists. Those who have read the newspapers about Malegaon and others, I think, would consider that this is a one-sided view.'' Asked why the UPA had not fulfilled the poll promise of passing a legislation against communal violence and withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Dr Singh said the government prepared a Bill on communal harmony and introduced in Parliament. But several minority groups came back and said this was not a legislation that was to their liking.

''Therefore, there was a lack of consensus. This was a legislation meant to apply some balm on the communal situation.

But if the minority communities say they were not satisfied, if NGOs said they were not very happy, so there is this delay and we have not been able to resolve these tensions.'' As far as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is concerned, he said even the government of Manipur was of the view that this could not be done away with until the situation improves.

Dr Singh said the government had appointed a group in the wake of the Manipur agitation. But quite honestly, the situation in the North East, the situation in Manipur, there was no situation warranting withdrawal of the special powers given to the Armed Forces.

''We have problems in Jammu Kashmir, we have problems in the North East. Therefore, I cannot take these risks with the security of our country.''

UNI

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