Kerala govt has litte power against foreign lotteries: Karat

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Kolkata, Jan 16 (PTI) CPI-M General Secretary PrakashKarat today said the LDF government in Kerala was doing itsbest under the law to curb foreign lotteries following a scam,but it could do little against such practise as those areoperated under a central law.

"The Kerala government is making all efforts to curbsuch lotteries. But it can do little as they were operatingunder central law. It is upto the Centre to take action,"Karat said at a press conference after the two-day CPI-Mpolitburo meeting here.

"I don''t understand how the Royal Government of Bhutanwas allowed to operate lotteries in India. I can understandthe state government operating lotteries in the country," hesaid.

On whether the state government would ask for a CBIenquiry into the scam, Karat said the Kerala government wastaking all steps to curb foreign lotteries. Besides, severallitigations on the scam were pending in the Supreme Court.

Karat accused the Congress-led UDF of trying to scorepolitical mileage over the LDF ahead of the state Assemblyelections.

Asked to comment on the BJP''s proposed programme to raise the national flag at Lalchowk on Republic Day, Karatsaid that the party''s understanding of the problems in Jammuand Kashmir would only "aggravate" the situation there.

"After five months, efforts are being made to engagepeople from all sections of society. At this time, the way theBJP is going to hoist the national flag will only create moreproblems," he said.

About the ongoing rectification within the CPI(M),Karat said it was being carried on at the district level now.

The matter would be taken up at the party''s CentralCommittee meeting in March, he said.

Kolkata, Jan 16 (PTI) Terming as "unprecedented" theElection Commission''s move to send a special team of observersto West Bengal ahead of the Assembly polls, CPI(M) today saidthe "unusual" decision would not add to the capacity of thestate government to ensure free and fair elections.

"The Election Commission of India has taken anunprecedented step. It is sending the Chief Electoral Officerof Bihar and also some police officers from outside the state.

We don''t think this will contribute to the capacity of thestate administration to hold free and fair polls and maintainlaw and order," party general secretary Prakash Karat toldreporters after its Politburo meeting here.

Stating that he did not know the reason for the"unusual" step of the Election Commission, Karat said he wouldtry to find out from the it the reason for such a move.

"It looks like the Bihar model is being adopted forholding the elections in West Bengal. That is the messagegoing to the people," he said.

Referring to the letter written by Union Home MinisterP Chidambaram to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee aboutthe presence of armed CPI(M) camps in Junglemahals, he said,"In the face of mounting evidence of a virtual collaborationbetween Trinamool Congress and Maoists, it is surprisingthat the home minister seeks to deviate from the issue andmake allegations against the CPI-M)."

Claiming that 365 Left Front workers were killed inthe Junglemahal over the past one-and-half years, he allegedthat Chidambaram was turning a blind eye to the fact.

"Despite the effort to instigate violence and targetworkers of the Left parties, we are confident that the peopleof Bengal would recognise that political violence was beingresorted to for narrow political ends," he said. .

Asked about allegations of the presence of armed CPI(M) camps in the Junglemahals, Karat said, "(CPI-M) statesecretary Biman Bose has already said that those camps areaccommodating people who cannot go home because of the threatto their lives by Maoists."

He said if there were illegal arms at those camps, theadministration would take appropriate steps in recoveringthem.

"The Maoists are the biggest armed force in Bengal,"he said.

On the party''s prospects in the upcoming Assemblyelections, Karat said that people had responded favourably tothe work done by his party and the Left Front over the pastthree months.

Commenting on the killing of nine people and criticallyinjuring several others at Netai village, he said the incidentwas "unfortunate", but declined to divulge further, sayingthat the Calcutta High Court was yet to pass an order on thematter.

"Our understanding of the root cause of the problems inBankura, Purulia and West Midnapore districts is that theyhave been witnessing aggression and violence by the Maoists.

Everybody knows the role of various political parties there,"he said.

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