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PM dismisses Left criticism over CMP

By Staff
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Kochi, Apr 19 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today termed the Left parties as ''valued allies'' of the UPA government at the Centre, but dismissed their criticism of the implementation of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), saying it was being done with ''all sincerity''.

The CMP would remain the guide to the future direction in all government policies, Dr Singh, who is in Kerala for the Congress election campaign, told reporters here in reponse to allegations by the CPI(M) that the Centre was ''implementing the CM of US President George Bush''.

When asked whether pressure from the Left parties was hampering the Centre from implementing policies and reforms, he said pressures existed in view of regional concerns and some of this duress was actually healthy.

''Pressures are not bad for a democratic framework. All pressures need not be considered unhealthy. But we are trying to resolve all issues in the wider interests of the nation,'' he said.

He said there were problems in building consensus when 14-15 parties worked together, but once a consensus was reached, the partnership became more durable.

When the Congress launched the policy of liberalisation, the Left and the BJP all had opposed it, but they pursued the same policy themselves, he said.

''No one could change the broad direction of the economic policies. This shows the strength of the broad framework of these policies,'' Dr Singh added.

When asked about the arch rivalry of the Left and Congress-led UDF in Kerala, he said the issue here was who would give a better governance to the state.

While dismissing opinion polls that give an edge to the Left Democratic Front, he said the UDF must be given another chance to improve governance and place on a higher growth trajectory a state which, if given a chance, could become the foremost knowledge hub of the country.

The Prime Minister declined to comment on reservation in education.

On the Sardar Sarovar Dam, Dr Singh said the government was analysing the Supreme Court order before deciding on what needed to be done.

''This project should go forward in the interests of development. The hopes of thousands of farmers in Gujarat and elsewhere are linked to this.'' However, he said, the project must not be at the cost of weaker sections and all affected must be rehabilitated and resettled.

On the attack on mediapersons in front of his residence in New Delhi yesterday, Dr Singh said he was unaware of the details of the incident but condemned all assault on media personnel.

UNI LR PK RN2104

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