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LDF victory will boost Left's position at the Centre: Raja

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Kochi, Apr 17 (UNI) An LDF victory in Kerala Assembly polls would strengthen the Left parties' efforts to ensure that the UPA government at the Centre adhered to the common minimum programme and implemented pro-people and pro-poor policies, the CPI said today.

Party's national secretary A Raja, who hit the campaign trail in the state today, told reporters here that the Left, despite its support to the UPA, has been fighting it out on various policy issues, especially economic, and would continue to do so.

The biggest casualty of the five-year rule of the Congress-led UDF government in the state has been governance, he alleged, adding that the term had been marked by "police rule." ''The government used police to crush democratic movements like those by students and government employees. The way communal issues were handled was distressing, especially incidents like Marad and the tribal agitation,'' he said.

The CPI leader said "commercialisation" of education and health during this period had made such services inaccessible to the common people. The government has completely ignored the agricultural sector and apart from some support for rubber, there has been nothing so far for other crops, he charged.

The failure of the UDF on this front, Mr Raja alleged, had been in part due to the economic policies pursued by the central government and its position on the issue globally.

''India should stand with other developing countries on WTO to protect its interests. It should take a strong position on the issue of subsidies. The government must continue subsidies for farmers, and on foodgrain and fertilizers,'' he said.

On the issue of differences in the LDF over the chief ministerial candidate, Mr Raja said the issue would be resolved smoothly within the Front.

''Parties have a democratic way of functioning and differences are part of it. This will not affect the LDF's poll prospects at all. It will come to power,'' he said.

The CPI leader is schdeuled to campaign in Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam and Thrissur districts before proceeding to Tamil Nadu.

Party general secretary A B Bardhan and senior leaders Sudhakar Reddy, Amarjeet Kaur and Annie Raja will start campaigning in the state from tomorrow.

UNI LR 1832

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