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Dump anti-worker economic reforms, Left tells government

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, July 7 (UNI) A day after the Manmohan Singh government put on hold all disinvestment decisions and proposals, the Left parties today asked the Congress-led coalition to completely ''jettison'' the second generation of economic reforms while pressing for strict adherence to the CMP and learning of the coalition ''dharma''.

In separate interviews to UNI, the leaders of the CPI(M), CPI and Forward Bloc also rubbished the assertion of BJP and a section of the media that the Prime Minister's position had been ''compromised'' by shelving the disinvestment process saying that Dr Manmoman Singh had indeed chosen to take into account the concerns of the constituents, allies and the Left parties.

The government yesterday gave in to the pressure from coalition parties and shelved the disinvestment exercise following the DMK's threat to pull out of the UPA coalition. ''The Prime Minister has decided to keep all disinvestment decisions and proposals on hold pending further review,'' the government had said in a statement yesterday.

CPI leaders A B Bardhan and Shamim Faizi, who are attending the party's national council meeting in Hyderabad, told UNI on phone that the Left parties have always opposed and agitated against the disinvestment of profit-making PSUs. ''We never bought the government's argument that the disinvestment is necessary to generate funds for implementation of the pro-poor and social welfare projects in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP).'' The CPI leaders said the Left had already impressed on the government that the other alternatives, including the restructuring of wealth and income tax and widening of the tax net were available.

''This is not the way to generate funds for social welfare projects,'' they said.

Referring to the reported new argument put forward by Finance Minister P Chidambaram that the funds were needed to revive the sick units, Mr Bardhan, the veteran Communist and freedom fighter, said ''The sick units have enough assets as well as land and property.'' On the BJP's allegation that the Prime Minister had succumbed to the ''blackmailing'' of the DMK and had chosen to compromise his own position, Mr Faizi, the CPI national Secretary, said ''Let the BJP first make its postion clear on disinvestment. It should not forget that during the NDA's six years rule, it disinvested the Maruti Udyog completely and seven other PSUs.'' ''I do not think that the Prime Minister has compromised on his position...he has simply reiterated his commitment to the CMP in view of the concerns of the allies and supporting parties,'' Mr Faizi added.


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