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Left puts Advani in dock over his remark on Sonia

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 11: The Left parites today lambasted the Bharatiya Janata Party( BJP) senior leader L K Advani for his demanding a probe against Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in connection with the Volcker Committee's findings in Iraq's food- for-oil programme, asking him to instead wait for the recommendations of the Justice Pathak Inquiry Authority.

''It is quite astonishing to note that the Leader of the Opposition even does not know that the Government has appointed the Justice Pathak Authority to probe the whole issue. The agenda-less Mr Advani is bent upon disturbing the political scenario in the country this way,'' the CPI, CPI(M) and the Forward Bloc told UNI.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and BJP chief Mr Advani, who is currently on his month-long Bharat Suraksha Yatra, has reportedly demanded the interrogation of Ms Gandhi in connection with the Volcker Committee findings in Iraq's food for oil programme. He also wanted the Congress chief to break her silence and come clean on the subject.

The Left parties, however, did not accept the UPA government's plan to take up with the Cabinet committee on Economic Affairs reduction in sops on food, fertilisers and petroleum and reiterated their assertion that taxing the rich, unearthing of black money and widening the tax net among other measures were the sure solution to generate government revenues for implementing the pro- poor projects as contained in the CMP.

On Mr Advani's demand, CPI leaders- A B Bardhan and D Raja- said, ''Mr Advani is welcome to submit documents and relevant information if he so desires berofre the Justice Pathak Authority.'' ''The BJP former president, out of frustration and being isolated in his own party, had taken to his old gimmick of the yatra and was trying to' personalise' the political scene in the country,'' they said.

CPI(M) veteran and Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe held that the people had already seen through his gameplan to divide the nation in the name of hatred against the minorities and religion.

The Left leaders made it abundantly clear that they would not accept any reduction in the subsidies in food, fertilisrs and petroleum.

''We can not and will not accept these... we will oppose.'' they added.

Mr Bardhan and Mr Raja said,''in a country like ours, the government can not avoid subsidies. Does the Congress-led coalition not know that the US, EU countries and Australia give huge subsidies to their farming communities?'' The Government instead should take immediate steps to strengthen the Public Distribution System(PDS), give priority to people's right to food and life and contain the rise in prices of essential commodities.

On direct tax collections, the CPI leaders said the government would also have to take certain measures including recovering over one lakh crores of Non performing assets(NPAs) and check the tax evasion on a huge scale.

Direct tax collections are set to fall a trifle short of even the revised estimate of Rs 1,70,017 crore. As per the flash received up to April 4, Rs 1,63,345 crore was reportedly collected in the fiscal.

Recalling the pre-budget discussions with Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Mr Pandhe said it was ''unfortunate'' that the Government was adamant about giving up the concept of India being a welfare state and reducing the subsidies for the needy.

''We warn the government if it goes on about its plan to reduce the subsidies, it will damage the agriculture, whose growth is already on the wane in comparison with services, manufacturing and mining sectors. Please remember that farmers are still committing suicide in various parts of the country,'' the CPI(M) leader added.

Forward Bloc general secretary and MP Debvrat Biswas deplored that the government had not accepted even a single proposal of the 15 points ''alternative suggestions'' submitted by the Left to increase revenue collection.


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