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Left joins issue with Sonia over her defence of govt

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 28 ( UNI) Refusing to buy Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi's defence of the government's pro- US tilt in foreign policy, the Left parties today accused the Centre of making India virtually ally of US.

In this connection, they referred to opening up its crucial sectors like the FDI in retail and "signing" a blue print to further open up insurance and banking sectors.

The leaders of the CPI(M), CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP also rejected Ms Gandhi's charge that they had sought to communalise the country's foreign policy for short-term electoral gains by mobilising the Muslim organisations support for their anti-Bush demonstrations.

Talking to UNI, while the Forward Bloc agreed in principle to NDA Convenor George Fernandes' suggestion that no Parliament member should hold an Office of profit, the CPI(M), CPI, and the RSP had a different viewpoint.

CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said," it is absurd to accuse certain parties of communalising the country's foreign policy. We have always opposed the US imperialist designs, be it in Iraq, Iran, Cuba or Korea." Mr Bardhan, a veteran Marxist and freedom fighter, said the Left's proven record of patriotism, secularism and defence of democracy did not need any certificate from anyone.

CPI (M) stalwart and Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said,'' the Left is of the view that the strategic relationship with the US at the present juncture is bound to lead to erosion in India's independent foreign policy. Our reasoned analysis is based on the present-day world reality which shows that the US is seeking to impose its hegemony in all spheres.'' Mr Yechury, also the Editor of the CPI(M) weekly People's Democracy said, '' the US has empowered itself with two unilateral doctrines- the decision of pre-emptive strikes, the second of regime change. Through these it seeks to impose on the world its interference in the internal affairs of independent and sovereign countries.

This is not acceptable to any self-respecting country like India.'' He said its latest National Security strategies as revealed on March 16 reconfirmed Left apprehensions. He said Bush began his speech by saying'' America is at war.'' Mr Yechury said the US sought to impose its political and economic will through 702 military bases in as many as 132 countries of the world. It had today nearly 10,000 nuclear warheads.

On the Congress Chief's charge of communalising foreign policy, the CPM leader held that the charge actually should be made against George Bush as he invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq. According to him,'' Their God is good and the Islamic God is bad. This is the worst expression of communalism.'' The Congress Chief, who recently resigned from her Lok Sabha seat and the post of chairperson of the National Advisory Council, following allegations of holding an office of profit, has in Sandesh, her party's monthly publication, patted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the Indo-US nuclear deal and debunked the Left.

Iran's referral to the UN Security Council has made India a non-player as it is not a member of that body." Mr Faizi said even President APJ Abdul Kalam. who himself is a top missile scientist, had pleaded in Rangoon for ''continuance of our nuclear project. The Manmohan Singh government should learn a lesson from his advice." CPI(M) senior leader and party parliamentary group leader in the Rajya Sabha Nilotpal Basu said," the Left does not agree with the kind of relationship our government has developed with the US as the Indo-US agreement had not taken enough care about protecting our interests in agriculture and bio- technology." Mr Basu said unlike during the green revolution, when the research was in the public space, the new agreement would take care of the commercial interests of the US supported MNCs and not the Indian small and medium farmers.

He also took objection to the Congress-led coalition's growing political proximity to the US as the Democracy Fund was misplaced.

"Even the Prime Minister has admitted on the floor of the house that India was not for regime change." The Government's support for the American imperialist manoeuvres is '' not acceptable to us.'' Now Mr Fernandes and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have started invoking God in their attempts to wish away criticism and justifying their decision on Iraq, he added.

Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan said Ms Gandhi was attempting to" dilute " the issue as it had nothing to do with "communal harmony and peace." The Left has never attempted to communalise or politicise the issue for electoral gains." Stating that the issue pertained to national sovereignty, he said, "this is why the Left can not keep mum as the government is making all compromises with the imperialist forces." RSP leader and MP Manoj Bhattacharya said the Left was not averse to "good relationship" with the US." But that does not mean that we should mortgage our foreign policy to the dictates and wishes of imperialist design of the US." On the NDA convenor's suggestion for not allowing the MPS to hold any office of profit, while the CPI maintained that," let him garner support in the NDA for it first," Mr Basu and Mr Bhattacharya did not think it worthwhile to comment on.

Only the Forward Bloc said it agreed with the NDA leader's proposal, but clear cut guidelines might be finalised first. It also called for early convening of the Parliament session to legislate on the crucial issue.

UNI

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