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Red ire mounts, revamp soars

The four Left parties called for a debate in Parliament on the Iran issue ahead of the IAEA's 'decisive' meeting on March 6 while reiterating their demand that the Centre should not be a party to any referral to the UNSC. They are also angry with the Govt's persistence with privatisation and FDI in vital sectors. At a meeting attended by Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and M K Pandhe of the CPM, A B Bardhan and D Raja of the CPI, Abani Roy of the RSP and G Devarajan of the FB it was decided that time has come to assess the Centre's policies, performance and direction.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 01:24 IST
Saroj Nagi

The four Left parties on Sunday called for a debate in Parliament on the Iran issue ahead of the IAEA's ``decisive'' meeting on March 6 while reiterating their demand that the Centre should not be a party to any referral to the UN Security Council (UNSC). They are also angry with the Manmohan Singh government's persistence with privatisation and FDI in certain vital sectors.

At a meeting attended by Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and M K Pandhe of the CPM, A B Bardhan and D Raja of the CPI, Abani Roy of the RSP and G Devarajan of the FB it was decided that time has come to assess the Centre's policies, performance and direction. The exercise will be undertaken first by each party individually and collectively, possibly in the third week of February.

Pending this exercise,.Left leaders have called off the February 8 UPA-Left coordination meeting (the next date will be decided soon).

No one is presently talking about withdrawing support to the UPA. But the stock-taking perhaps marks the Left's "political" distancing from the UPA, with leaders quick to deny that it was confined to "soundbytes”.

Or that it was a pre-poll gimmick in the backdrop of the West Bengal and Kerala assembly polls or meant to camouflage their failure to follow up on the warning of ``serious consequences'' if India voted against Iran.

``The assessment exercise has to do with our image and credibility. We are disappointed with the Singh government. Left-UPA relations cannot be cordial if the Centre proceeds in the manner it is doing,'' said Devarajan.

With the Centre ignoring their appeal on issues like FDI, banking insurance, airport privatisation or Iran, Roy was reportedly apprehensive that people would not believe them. Raja summed up the Left anger: "The UPA should not take us for granted."

Curiously, the demand for appraising the Singh regime came from the smaller Left parties who called for "concrete action'' or a "strong signal'' as the coalition seemed to be taking them for granted.
The agenda for Sunday's meeting was Iran and airport privatisation. But Devarajan underlined the need to discuss other issues as well, his demand for an assessment finding support from others.

GMR, GVK given first papers

THE GOVERNMENT is moving with alacrity on the modernisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports.

A day after the strike by AAI workers' unions was called off -- and passengers walked into clean airport lobbies towing their baggage trolleys -- the government issued letters of intent to the successful bidders, GMR-Fraport and GVK-ACSA, inviting them to sign agreements.

Sources said the bidders were expected to deposit Rs 150 crore each as security on Monday. After the receipt of the security deposit, the government will sign the agreements and start the transition process, which is expected to be completed before March 31.

Meanwhile, the consortium of Sterlite and Macquarie Bank has written to the eGoM, seeking a fresh reconsideration and opening of financial bids. It has claimed that the consortium of Sterlite-Macquarie Bank-ADP committed to share 43.04 per cent of revenues with the AAI in its financial bid for the Mumbai airport. GVK, had bid only 38.7 per cent.

It has alleged that the national exchequer will lose over Rs 2,000 crore because of GVK's lower bid.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 00:59 IST