M A I N   N E W S

PM asks partymen to counter Left campaign
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
Having found little support from his Cabinet colleagues, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is now looking towards the party to help build public opinion on key government policies like economic reforms agenda and its recent decision to vote against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Not just the Prime Minister but the top Congress leadership is equally concerned that its cadres are unable to match the campaign unleashed by the Left parties in explaining the government’s viewpoint to the people. Their worries have been further compounded by the fact that senior Cabinet ministers have been singularly unwilling to come out in support of the government. This was particularly glaring on the Iran issue.

On the other hand, several Congress ministers actually went public with their disapproval of the government’s policy on BHEL disinvestment.

Although the Congress has officially been defending the UPA’s decisions, party leaders privately admit that the message is not trickling down." Seeing how the Left parties are gearing up to take on the government on the Iran issue, it was expected that Congress ministers would publicly defend the government’s policies ...but that has not happened,” said a glum-faced senior Congress leader.

This concern was evident during the recent Chandigarh conclave of Congress chief ministers where both party president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh repeatedly emphasised the need for greater interaction between the government and party cadres to enable the latter to convey the government’s accomplishments to the people.

In his interaction with chief ministers on the second day of the conclave, the Prime Minister echoed Ms Gandhi’s views when he underlined how important it was for the party organisation to convey the government’s viewpoint to the people. Congress cadres are expected to counter the Left parties, which have not only derailed the Centre’s disinvestment plans but also projected these as a “sell out” to private players.

Dr Manmohan Singh, it is learnt, had explained that the Centre had resorted to disinvestment to mobilise resources for the ambitious social sector programmes promised in the ruling combine’s CMP. It is for the party workers to explain the reasons for government’s inability to deliver on its commitments so that the Congress is not put in the dock. The moot question he wanted them to put before the public is, “Where will the government raise the funds from for these schemes?”

In his presentation on the recently-passed National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Dr Manmohan Singh again emphasised how vital it was to involve party workers in the implementation of this programme and to let people know that this Act was the Congress brainchild.

It has become vital for the Congress to have an effective campaign in this regard as the rural job plan is to be implemented largely in the opposition-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. Not only does the Congress have to guard against the Left claiming ownership of this programme but it has also to contend with the NDA taking credit for its implementation. 


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