M A I N   N E W S

Left not to join Cong-led coalition
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 17
The Left parties today jointly decided not to join the Congress-led coalition government at the Centre, but would review its “nature of association with the government” once the common minimum programme is finalised.

“While extending support from outside, the Left parties will ensure that any machinations by the BJP and the communal forces to destabilise the government are foiled,” the Left parties said in a joint statement.

Although the Communist Party of India (CPI) was in favour of joining the government, it decided to go along with the CPM, which categorically rejected the idea of joining the government.

In a joint press conference, leaders of CPM, CPI and All-India Forward Bloc said they had decided against joining the government on the ground that they would not be in a position to get their policies implemented and did not want the entire opposition space to be taken by “rightist” forces.

“Joining the government is against the very basic ideology of our party. How can we be part of the bourgeoisie Congress formation,” said the CPM General Secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet.

The CPM struck to its 1996 decision, which was endorsed by the party’s 16th congress.

The party had then argued that “in a coalition where the majority of the parties are of a bourgeoisie character, it would be sheer illusion to expect to implement alternative policies.”

“It is one thing to extend support to a bourgeoisie combination at the Centre to keep out a more reactionary combination (BJP). It is another thing altogether to join such a government,” it stated.

Sticking to the same position, the CPM Central Committee today rejected the idea of joining the government.

Asserting that the Left parties had got a historic mandate, the statement said “The verdict is for the formation of a secular government at the Centre....and the Left parties have decided to extend support to the Congress-led coalition government” taking this into consideration.

Observing that the common minimum programme (CMP) would be the “test” of the new government, the leaders of the Left parties said “the policy direction of the new government is going to be determined with the formulation of the CMP.”

Adopting a wait-and-watch approach, the leaders said they would go through the draft CMP, being prepared by the Congress leader Manmohan Singh, and suggest changes, if any, through negotiations.

“We will associate ourselves in ensuring that the promises made to the people are fulfilled....but we will not give any opportunity to anyone trying to destabilise the government,” Mr Surjeet asserted.


CPI to join govt only with all Left parties
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 17
Putting the ball in the court of other Left constituents, the Communist Party of India (CPI) today said that it would join the Congress-led government at the Centre only if all other Left parties did so.

Briefing mediapersons on the decisions taken at the end of the two-day national executive, the apex decision-making body of the party, CPI General Secretary, Mr A.B. Bardhan said, “The CPI as one of the units of the Left, will not take a unilateral decision about participating in the government. The whole Left participates together or the whole Left keeps out and extends outside support.”

Reading out the statement issued by the party, Mr Bardhan said, “The Left has decided to give support to the Congress and their allies to form a new secular government at the Centre. The CPI National Executive has come to the conclusion that participation of the Left in the government meets the aspirations of the people and that it will be more helpful in presenting the stability and performance of the government. But it has to be made clear that participation in the government has to be by all Left parties together. More than anything else, it is important to preserve the unity and cohesion of the Left.”

Mr Bardhan said that they desired a stable government. He said that Mr Jyoti Basu’s remark to Congress President Sonia Gandhi that she would have to complete her full term of five years was an indication that the Left wanted the government to last five years.

He said that the National Council of the party scheduled from June 11 to 13, would review the elections.

Terming the statements of former BJP General Secretary, Govindacharya and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Congress President, Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin, Mr Bardhan said, “A deliberate effort is now being made by a section of the BJP and the RSS to build up a movement on the foreign origin of the Prime Minister. All these people and other leaders, including two Chief Ministers, have indulged in this propaganda. One of them has been taught a lesson by being totally wiped out in Tamil Nadu. Another gentleman Narendra Modi, who thought that Gujarat is the fiefdom of the VHP and the RSS, also lost the elections. That propaganda is now being sought to be brought back. It is a reflection of the fact that the BJP now has no other argument than to oppose the formation of a secular government. It is an insult to the country’s Constitution and legal system. Such statements are an attempt to deliberately destabilise the country’s democratic, parliamentary system.”

Replying to a question about the common minimum programme (CMP) for governance, Mr Bardhan said, “The first draft of the common minimum programme is being made, we have been informed by Dr Manmohan Singh. We have asked him to circulate it to us in the next two days. Meanwhile, we have undertaken that we will also prepare our suggestions for such a programme in the next two days. After we have received the proposal of Dr Singh, we will present our suggestions. Our National Executive has constituted a subcommittee to present our views for the common minimum programme.”

Mr Bardhan said that the Congress mentioned on Sunday the need for a coordination committee to monitor the common minimum programme.

Asked to spell out CPI’s expectations of the CMP, the party General Secretary said, “The main thrust should be on agriculture. Investments should be made in agriculture subsidies. Free power should be given to the farmers wherever possible or it should be subsidised. On certain items, quantitative restrictions should be imposed and customs duty revived to restore the livelihood of the farmers connected with those products. On the question of unemployment, we are going to make suggestions of how employment programmes should be taken up. The whole question of drinking water will have to be taken. This should be a priority of the next government and this will have an impact on all those who are suffering for want of water.”

Mr Bardhan said that distortions and mistakes in text books ought to be removed and corrected. “Our firm demand is that POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) should be repealed and all those held under POTA and those cases in which chargesheet has not been filed for six months should be reviewed.”

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |