Left terms President's Address as 'disappointing'

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{image-CPI M_25022008.jpg news.oneindia.in}New Delhi, Feb 25: Dubbing the President's Address as 'disappointing', Left parties today debunked the government's claim on "inclusive growth and economic boom", noting that on the contrary the gap between 'Shining India' and 'suffering India' had widened.

Stressing the people expected the President to not only mention the achievements of the government but also talk about the unabated spate of farmers' suicides, price rise, inflation, rising unemployment, the CPI(M) and CPI said the ''policy document'' also did not mention the Women's Reservation Bill, a comprehensive law for agricultural workers and provision of social security for 370 million unorganised workers among other things. Noting that the prices of essential commodities had gone through the roof, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury claimed this was the ''result of the dangerous ordinance the government has issued allowing futures trading in wheat, rice and pulses.'' ''Is this the way to check price rise?'' he queried at a press conference here.

Meanwhile, party floor leaders in Lok Sabha Basudeb Acharia and Rup Chand Pal deplored that the government had ignored even the unanimous opposition by the Parliamentary Standing Committee to FDI in futures trading.

Mr Yechury also dared the government to prove that the effect of the US dollar's depreciation had been insulated. ''The rupee appreciation has directly affected our export markets -- be it textiles, leather, jewellery or hosiery. Our exports have fallen drastically with the result that over 1.5 lakh workers have lost their jobs in these industries.'' On the government's claim on ''architecture of inclusive growth,'' he said the process of the same had resulted into ''two Indias - the one inhabited by the 36 billionares, millionares and the super rich and the other where 78 per cent of the people live on less than 20 rupees a day.''

The CPI(M) leader opined that ''unless some drastic measures are taken to bridge this gap, all talk of inclusive growth would turn out to be an empty illusion.'' Making a strong case for mitigation of the sufferings of the farming community in which a farmer committed suicide every 30 mintues, Mr Yechury called for institutional arrangements for bank credits and a hike in the Minimum Support Price for wheat and paddy.

Senior CPI leaders D Raja and Sudhakar Reddy termed the President's Address as a ''disappointing one''. While Mr Raja, the party's Rajya Sabha Group leader, said it was a ''very very routine address in which the government schemes have been compiled,'' Mr Reddy said it did not touch on the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Besides, they noted that the address did not reflect the Parliament's opinion on the Indo-US nuclear deal and the parochial movements posing a threat to the country's unity and integrity.

In reply to a specific query, the Left leaders said they would press for roll back of the recent fuel hike and adoption of all measures to contain the Maoists, ultra-nationalists, and extremists in the north east.

They also took a serious view of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray's 'calculated assault' against North Indians in Maharashtra, saying that every Indian citizen had got the fundamental right to live in any place of his/her choice. ''We strongly condemn it. You know in Kolkata, never has such an incident happend. Neither will we allow the same,'' they said.


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