Left step up pressure on UPA, place 12-pt agenda
New Delhi, May 10: Elated over their 'expected' victory in the assembly polls, the Left parties today stepped up their pressure on the UPA government for implementation of at least 12 proposals, including elimination of taxes on petroleum products and setting up of a special parliamentary committee on office of profit.
Floor leaders of the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc, who met to finalise their strategy for the ten-day extended Budget session, said they would also raise the issue of urgently containing female foeticide, continuing farmers' suicide, government's privatisation ''spree'', hike in prices of essential commodties, surreptitious violation of labour laws, FDI in retail sector and a structured debate on ''mineral policy and formation of a national policy on it''.
At a press conference here, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member Sitaram Yechury, CPI floor leader in the Lok Sabha Gurudas Dasgupta and CPI(M) parliament group leader Basudeb Acharia answered wide range of queries on the prevaling agrarian crisis, mismanagement of food security, move to privatise BALCO and the handing over of the Mumbai and Delhi airports to a private company.
Answering questions on the government's move to hike the price of petroleum products, Mr Yechury said ''These being necessary imports, you cannot impose taxes on the people. Besides, why does the government want to increase the price when it has claimed a high growth and while the fiscal budget is low...'' Mr Yechury said the Manmohan Singh government should rather abolish all Excise and Customs duties on import of oil products, otherwise the common man would be badly hit.
On the office of profit controversy, the CPI(M) leader maintained that the best way to resolve the issue would be to set up a special committee of Parliament, which should not only study and examine the matter but also suggest a new law whereby it could be properly defined and certain offices exempted from the list.
Replying to a question whether the Left regarded the office of National Advisory Council (NAC), earlier headed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Mr Yechury replied in the negative stating every government has the right to appoint an advisory panel.
''The issue has been raised only because of the involvement of certain people,'' he added.