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CPM ready to forge third alternative
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 20
Keen to form the third alternative, the CPM appears to be proceeding cautiously. The party is clear that such an alternative should be a firm alliance based on shared policies and programmes that are different from both BJP and the Congress and not an arrangement aimed only at fighting elections.

The draft political resolution released by the CPM today, which will be debated by party units and members before its adoption by the party congress being held at Coimbatore from March 29 to April 3, said there had to be an alternative to the Congress and the BJP-led combinations and the Left must take an initiative for it.

“It is necessary to forge a third alternative. Such a platform must be based on a consistent anti-communal outlook, address the problems faced by the people and advocate pro-people economic measures. It should make provisions for social welfare and strengthening public distribution system, defence of national sovereignty and an independent foreign policy,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said.

He said the party would maintain relations with all non-Congress secular parties for forging joint action on issues of common concern and strengthen Left unity to facilitate formation of the third alternative.

Answering queries, Karat said he was not using the word third front as it was closely identified with the polls. He said the party had electoral understanding with parties such as the DMK, the RJD and the Samajwadi Party in the Lok Sabha polls and these were likely to continue.

Differentiating between the BJP and the Congress, the resolution said the CPM would continue to adopt tactics for isolating and defeating the former while it would not enter into any alliance or united front with the latter.

The resolution termed the Congress as secular bourgeois party, adding that the party often vacillates when the communal forces take the offensive.

Karat said the Left had exerted pressure on the UPA government to fulfil the commitments made in the common minimum programme. He said some of the retrograde policies and legislations had been checked because these could not be passed without the support of the Left in Parliament.

Hitting out at the BJP, he said after its defeat in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections the saffron party fell back on its hardcore Hindutva platform.

“The role of the RSS in the running of the party is reinforced. In the BJP-ruled states the communal situation has deteriorated. Attacks on minorities, both Muslims and Christians, have taken place in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Orissa. The performance of the BJP-led state governments underline the fact that it is the most reactionary force in Indian politics,” he said.

On the Indo-US nuclear deal, Karat said it was not going forward anywhere and the government would come back to the UPA-Left committee with its discussions with the IAEA on safeguards.

Opposing hike in prices of petroleum products, he said the government would face protest from the Left if it went ahead with such a decision.

“They should rationalise the tax structure rather than passing on the burden on the common man, who is already reeling under growing price of essential commodities,” he said.

Accusing the UPA government of failing to tackle agrarian crisis, the resolution said reduction of subsidies and closure of indigenous fertiliser plants resulting in the import of urea at higher prices that has burdened the farmers further.

Expressing concern on policies concerning food security, the resolution said the government was relying on import of wheat from abroad for the past two years at prices significantly higher than the minimum support price and targeted PDS system had failed to achieve results as BPL beneficiaries are being restricted on the basis of unreasonable criteria.

On Centre-state relations, it said: “The party will take the initiative to raise issues of Centre-State relations and rally support of the people against the growing encroachment from the Centre.”

On Jammu and Kashmir, the resolution reiterated that a political solution was possible only by assuring the Kashmiri people that their identity and culture will be fully safeguarded.



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