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UPA government's credibility eroding fast : Left

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, June 7 : Observing that the UPA government's credibility was eroding fast due to its anti-people policies, the Left parties today claimed that they were making every effort to provide a viable alternative to the Congress and the BJP at the Centre.

They were also unhappy with the obvious confrontation between the ''two sets of policies and programmes'' being pursued by the so-called 'economic wizards' led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ''strict implementaiton'' of the Common Minimum Programme, led by a section of the Congress.

In separate interviews on a wide range of political and economic issues facing the nation, the leaders of the CPI, CPI(M) and Forward Bloc said they were at present engaged in uniting secular and democratic forces to develop a ''viable economic and political alternative''.

They also expressed dissatisfaction with the 'infighting'' between the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra over the support to Independent candidate for Rajya Sabha Rahul Bajaj. The differences between the state and central leadership on joining the DMK government in Tamil Nadu were other developments which were causing concern.

On ''sharpening'' confrontation at the Centre, CPI leaders A B Bardhan and Shamim Faizi said, ''On the one hand, the UPA chairperson and the Left allies are insisting on a strict adherence to the CMP, while on the other, the Manmohan Singh government wants to carry forward the economic reforms as dictated by the World Bank and the IMF.'' The confrontation was becoming more and more obvious as the government was out to proceed with certain ''unpopular decisions'' like pruning subsidy, banking, insurance and pension reforms, and disinvesting the PSUs, latest being the Neyveli Lignite Corporation, the CPI leaders said.

CPI(M) veteran and Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe said, ''Even a section of the Congress is convinced about the fallacy of the government's economic policies. They are disenchanted with the Centre's latest decision on increasing the prices of petrol and diesel knowing very well that it reflects on their party.'' He refused to agree with the view being projected in the media that Congress President Sonia Gandhi's invervetion would lead to a reduction in the prices of petroleum products.

''It is not correct to analyse it this way. The government cannot do anything without her knowledge,'' he added.

He said whenever Ms Gandhi felt certain government decisions would make her party unpopular, she projected herself as ''progressive''.

CPI national secretary Shamim Faizi held that the CMP contained several provisions like relief to the people and protection of national assets, the strenghtening of the PDS, strict measures to keep inflation under control and allowing the 'navratnas' to expand their activities without resorting to private dispensation.

But all the provisions were being ignored by the government with immunity, Mr Faizi, the Editor of the party's weekly 'New Age', said.

Political parties, including the Congress, cannot afford public wrath particularly when the government measures put extra-economic burden on common masses.

The Left leaders said the increase in the issue prices of wheat and rice for PDS and cut in foodgrains allocation for the state had hit the poor badly. ''There is an abnormal hike in the price of flour, pulses, vegetbles and cement.'' Asserting that the Manmohan Singh government could not afford to ignore the political parties' including several Congress leaders' demand for a rollback in fuel prices, the CPI leader said, ''the step has become necessary in view of impending elections in four states--Punjab, Uttaranchal, Manipur and most importantly Uttar Pradesh.'' The Left leaders said by now a section of the Congress leadership had realised that the Manmohan Singh government responded only to the demands of the moneyed sections and ignored the protests of the common poeple.

Besides, the Congress party was facing troubles in a number of states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. In Maharashtra, the NCP has a grouse that its party leader was denied the Chief Ministership despite the party having won the highest number of seats during the assembly poll at that time. The situation aggravated when it played a trick to allow only one Legislative Council seat to the NCP there.

Now as a retaliation, the NCP sponsored Mr Rahul Bajaj for the Rajya Sabha seat, which fell vacant due to the sudden demise of BJP leader Pramod Mahajan.

Mr Bajaj is also sponsored by the BJP-Shiv Sena combine, they added. ''The party is also facing problems in Tamil Nadu where the state Congress wanted to join the DMK-led government and the Central leadership insisting on sticking to the pre-election understanding.'' Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan said the Congress party was not ready to read the writing on the wall. ''Due to the mismanagment of the party and the government policies, it is pushing the whole nation to the brink of economic and political disaster.''


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