Left backs Sonia as next PM
On whether Sonia was experienced enough to lead the country, CPI said, "Was Rajiv experienced enough when he became the PM or for that matter even Vajpayee."
The Communist Party of India on Saturday backed Congress chief Sonia Gandhi as the country's next Prime Minister.
"We have no objections to Sonia Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister," CPI leader AB Bardhan said.
On whether he thought Gandhi was experienced enough to lead the country, he replied in a question, "was Rajiv Gandhi experienced enough when he became the Prime Minister or for that matter even Atal Bihari Vajpayee."
However, he added that Gandhi would "be judged."
The CPI leader attacked the policies of the Vajpayee government, alleging they were guided by the dictates of the United States and were anti-people and anti-farmer.
CPI's national executive is meeting on Saturday to decide whether to lend outside support to the new Congress-led formation or join it as an integral constituent.
On the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) all the parties in the new formation would be drafting, he said it would be an indicator to the kind of policies to be followed. "It will not be very exhaustive but rather indicative of the policies we will be following," Bardhan said.
Giving its full support to Sonia Gandhi as Prime Minister, CPI-M on Saturday said all coalition partners will have to accept her as the elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party.
"Sabko Congress ke neta ko maanana padega mili juli sarkar mein (all will have to accept the Congress leader in a coalition government)," CPI-M spokesman Sitaram Yechury said when asked by reporters if the party accepted Sonia Gandhi, who was just elected CPP leader, as Prime Minister.
He said CPI-M, whose politburo is meeting to decide about joining the Congress-led government, wanted revival of Public Distribution System, abolished by the Vajpayee government, in the wake starvation deaths and suicide by farmers.
On disinvestments issue, he said the party was against privatisation of profit-making PSUs. A decision about the loss-making PSUs, which cannot be revived, could be taken only after consultation with the management and the workers, he said.
Yechury said the party wanted the new government to step up public investment, particularly in rural areas to generate employment.
Asked about reports that Kerala faction of the party and Prakash Karat were opposed to CPI-M joining the government, he said "there are no factions in the party. There is always a collective decision."
He said the party Central Committee will meet on Sunday and possibly a meeting of all secular parties will also be held tomorrow or on Monday in connection with formation of a new government at the Centre.
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