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UPA-Left meet amidst deeper wounds in ties

CPI(M) has warned that it would bring the Government "to its knees".

india Updated: Feb 12, 2006 15:33 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

The UPA-Left Coordination Committee is meeting on Monday against the backdrop of deteriorating ties over Iran and other issues.

CPI(M) has warned that it would bring the Government "to its knees".

The meeting is being held at a time when the Left has announced "common understanding" on several matters, including Iran, with Samajwadi Party, which along with TDP has threatened to move a no-confidence motion in the Budget session of Parliament beginning on February 16.

The CPI(M) politburo meeting concluded in Kolkata on Friday with its leaders issuing a veiled threat to Congress that a new situation would emerge if Government voted against Iran at the March six IAEA meeting.

The Left is also livid at the Government's attitude on airports privatisation and FDI in retail trade. What has added fuel to the fire is that these developments were occurring ahead of assembly elections in five states, including West Bengal and Kerala where Congress is their main rival.

Asserting that the Left was not bound by any coalition as they were supporting the UPA from outside, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat has said "it seems that they have taken it for granted that discussion with the Left on various policy matters was sufficient to go ahead with their decision, irrespective of our point of view."

The Iran issue has brought the second major rupture between the coalition and its key outside supporters after the controversy over BHEL disinvestment last year, which had led the Left to boycott the Coordination Committee till the government gave in to the pressure and declared that no 'navaratna' company would be privatised.

Congress and the Government are downplaying the Left's threats maintaining that contentious issues have always been resolved through dialogue and discussions.

The Left parties have also toughened their stand on the issue of airport privatisation and FDI in retail with CPI(M) hinting at the formation of a pressure group of parties within and outside UPA. They came out openly in supporting the four-day strike by the airport employees against privatisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports.

After its politburo meeting last week, CPI(M) also asked other Left parties to review their relationship with the Congress-led government.

On the Iran issue, Karat has said "the Government will be put in the dock in Parliament if it insists on voting for a referral to the Security Council. Left parties have formulated some opinion on these. We will convey it to the government. If government still goes ahead with it we are free to take steps to bring the government to its knees."

Ahead of the Left-UPA Coordination Committee meeting, the Left parties would meet to review the overall performance of the government and decide their course of action.

Accusing the Government of violating the common minimum programme on economic issues as well, the Left parties have handed over a wishlist to the Government ahead of the general budget.

They have demanded a Rs 52,800 crore increase in gross budgetary support in the 2006-07 budget to Rs 1,96,296 crore to meet its commitments especially in the social sector. The priority areas for the government should be the agriculture sector and employment generation, they have said.

The resources for this, they said, could be generated by implementing the proposals on resource mobilisation they had submitted earlier, like imposition of inheritance tax, restoration of long-term capital gains tax.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 15:33 IST