Scrap disinvestment policy, says CPM, CPI

Updated on May 14, 2004 06:22 PM IST

CPI General Secretary AB Bardhan said that new Govt has to do away with disinvestment policy of PSUs.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, New Delhi

As speculation mounted over whether the left parties would join the new Congress-led government, CPI-M and CPI on Friday made it clear that pro-active disinvestment policies should be scrapped.

After an informal meeting of leaders belonging to the two parties, CPI General Secretary AB Bardhan said that new government has to do away with the policy of disinvestment of PSUs.

"Obviously it goes without saying that policy of disinvesting PSUs should go," he said when asked whether the disinvestment policy has to go if the Left were to participate in the new government.

Echoing similar views, CPI-M General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet said "we cannot afford it (disinvestment programme followed by the NDA). We oppose disinvestment of profit making PSUs. All the mistakes of the NDA government have to be rectified

"This disinvestment policy has seriously harmed the country. The present mandate is a reflection of people's verdict on the wrong economic policies of the NDA government. This policy has to be changed."

Bardhan said although his party had fundamental differences with Congress it did not mean that all CPI policies should be implemented on Friday itself.

"It (manifesto) will not be the policies of the Congress or ours. It has to be a common minimum programme and it has to be worked out," he said adding all the parties which had worked for defeating BJP should come together.

On the foreign origin issue, Bardhan said his party had never raked it up despite its differences with Congress. "Why should we discuss a person who as Congress President has defeated the BJP."

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said the law enacted by Parliament to restrict the number of ministries at the Centre will help us to scrap the Disinvestment Ministry as it is totally unnecessary ministry.

"There is no need to disinvest profit-making PSUs identified as Navratnas. The other profit-making PSUs need to be strengthened and made more efficient," he said.

About loss making PSUs, he said government should try to make them more viable by bringing in more private investment through joint venture and if every effort fails then a decision to dispose off such PSUs could be taken in consultation with management and workers.

Left parties had the satisfaction of achieving all its three objectives -- defeating communal forces, establishing alternate secular government and increasing the strength of Left parties -- in the Lok Sabha polls, he said.

Bardhan also said the new parties in the proposed coalition should work out a common minimum programme immediately on some basic needs that will essentially exclude disinvestment in profit making PSUs. "We have to reverse the process of Arun Shourie's. Disinvestment in IOC and BPCL should be scrapped."

Emerging from the meeting, Bardhan said the Left parties were discussing all the modalities to cobble a coalition.

"We want to assess the reactions of other parties. We are trying to contact Samajwadi party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and DMK chief M Karunanidhi," he said

Asked what could be the reservations for joining the government, he said "we will have to see what will be the policies of the new government. What will be the Common Minimum Programme and what will be the economic policy."

He went on to add that he was not spelling out the issues like agriculture, labour and industrial policies as these would be part of the discussions.

"We are making efforts to unite all the supporting parties who have played a role in defeating the BJP," Surjeet said.

Asked about a Common Minimum Program for governance, he said "everybody has to compromise."

Asked whether Left parties would oppose Labour reforms of the NDA, particularly the Contract Act, Surjeet said "there are many things that have to be corrected."

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