CPI rules out extending support to the Congress

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Kochi, Aug 1: CPI general secretary A B Bardhan on Friday, August 1 ruled out extending support to the Congress in the event of a hung Parliament after the next general elections and expressed optimism about the Third Front emerging as a viable electoral alternative.

Addressing a meet-the-press, organised by the Ernakulam Press Club here, Mr Bardhan said the Left parties had withdrawn support to the UPA Government on the Indo-US nuclear deal and the parties would be going to the polls on this issue. ''How can there be any support to the Congress after this. That is ruled out after the general elections,'' he added. Mr Bardhan said with the Left parties out of the way, the ''maneaters of corporate houses were being let loose by the UPA government.'' The government was moving towards equity dilution of banks, allowing foreign capital into the banking sector and privatisation of insurance.

''Lakhs and crores of rupees from the Provident Fund are being given to private players such as Reliance to make profits. We will oppose this.'' In this context, he said the CPI extended full support to the central trade unions' call for a nation-wide strike on August 20 to protest against the UPA Government's economic and anti-worker policies.

Expressing optimism that the Third Front would emerge as a viable electoral alternative to the Congress and the BJP, Mr Bardhan said the two parties were hoping to have a bi-polar polity. However, the emergence of a third front will badly affect them, he added.

While the ten constituent members of the Third Front had presently come together only to conduct a joint campaign on five major issues, the importance of this combination was that it may create a situation for new political alignments. ''Let us see how it matures into an electoral front,'' he added.

The five main issues that the parties would campaign on are price rise, agrarian crisis, the Indo-US nuclear deal, checking communal forces and the government's misuse of investigating agencies like the CBI, Mr Bardhan said.

He also called for an in-depth inquiry into the serial bomb explosions in Bangalore and Ahmedabad. Terming the blasts as an attack on the country's stability, he said those behind these acts were trying to create panic and polarise the communities.

Supporting Kerala's demand for more food grains from the central pool, Mr Bardhan said a delegation of the Left parties will call on Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to make him understand the need for higher allotment of rice to Kerala, which was deficient in food production.

The CPI general secretary also demanded that the private television channel which had conducted the sting operation into the 'cash-for-vote' deal before the vote of confidence in Parliament, telecast the tapes.


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