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UPA will be punished if it fails to implement CMP: Jyoti Basu

Monday 2 May 2005

Special Correspondent

"Congress responsible for economic decline"

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Sushanta Patronobish
Stern message: The former West Bengal Chief Minister, addressing a May Day rally at the Sahid Minar Ground in Kolkata on Sunday.

KOLKATA: Even after being in power for nearly 11 months now the United Progressive Alliance [UPA] Government at the Centre has failed to implement "all but one or two" of the provisions in the Common Minimum Programme [CMP]. If it continues to pursue anti-people policies the Government would "be punished", veteran leader of the Communist Party of India [Marxist] and former West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, told a rally on the occasion of May Day here on Sunday.

Neither has the Congress engaged in any "self-criticism" and "tried to correct the wrongs [it had committed on earlier occasions]", Mr. Basu noted. It was the Congress and its policies that were responsible for the country’s economic decline with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance only aggravating matters while in power over the past six years, he added.

Right to protest

"We [the Left parties] have been holding discussions [with the UPA] on how CMP ought to be implemented," Mr. Basu said. But "we also have the right to protest both inside and outside Parliament and inform the people of our views" if there is any failure in implementing CMP, he said. "Let the people then decide ... they ultimately will listen to us."

Mr. Basu was also critical of the Supreme Court for its views on the right to strike. "Those who have the right to strike should not strike" is what is being said. "We will have to ask the Supreme Court how do we fight for our rights then? Will you ensure them to us?" Trade unions will have to get together to get "the Supreme Court to change its views", he added.

The rally he was addressing was organised by Left Central trade unions.

The judiciary in certain States had started impinging on the right to strike, he pointed out. Strikes, however, should be resorted to only as a last option.

Rallies in Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Several organisations took out marches in connection with May Day in the Kerala capital. The INTUC took out a colourful march from the AKG Centre junction at Palayam to East Fort. The march was accompanied by music and folk art bands as well as roller-skaters.

The AITUC organised a motor rally in which workers on autorickshaws, taxis and tempo vans took part.

Cell to protect labour

NEW DELHI: Union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj inaugurated the "Crime Against Labour Cell" in the capital to mark May Day celebrations. The Crime Against Labour Cell has been set up by the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA). The National Legal Aid Resource and Communication Centre for Labour was also opened.

The Minister said his Government was committed to taking legal justice to every corner of the nation. "Everyday there is increased participation of the people in the legal system, specially the women and the weaker sections and I assure you no wrong law, harmful to the poor or the worker will be sanctioned during my tenure." To fight the social evils of poverty and exploitation, it was imperative that every citizen was aware about his legal rights to fight against injustice.

Congratulating the NLSA on opening the new cells, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Brinda Karat, said they would prove to be effective tools for ensuring speedy justice to workers as well as the common man.She, however, lamented that despite the Supreme Court directions, the cells formed to tackle cases related to sexual harassment were yet to be opened in several Government departments itself.

The former Defence Minister, George Fernandes, said that in the changed global economic scenario, those in power have failed to safeguard the interests of the poor people and workers. For instance, shopping malls were coming up everywhere and the small traders and poor vendors were at the losing end.

The Crime Against Labour Cell will also address the critical issues of unsafe working conditions, non-payment of wages, sexual harassment of women workers and trafficking in children.

`Stop anti-worker policies’

A large number of workers under the banner of the Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) took out a rally in the capital in protest against the various "anti-working class policies and steps’’ of the UPA Government.

Workers from the Okhla Industrial Area Phase-I and II, Mayapuri, Naraina, Wazirpur, DSOI Club and Central and private hospitals marched from ITO on Bahadurshah Zafar Marg to Jantar Mantar. The workers carried placards to draw the attention of the Government to their various demands and appealed for forging unity among the working class.

`Halt privatisation’

GUWAHATI: May Day was observed throughout Assam with the trade unions and workers’ bodies taking out rallies and the transport workers observing a "chakka bandh".

In the city hundreds industry workers, employees of bank, insurance sectors, power workers, State and Central Government employees took out a rally through the main thoroughfares demanding a halt to privatisation of public sector undertakings. The workers also raised the slogans, among others, for the withdrawal of the Pension Bill.

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