Debating India

Left parties to talk tough with UPA

Monday 13 February 2006, by PRASAD*K.V.

No agenda set for Coordination meeting: Karat

NEW DELHI: The Left parties plan some plainspeaking at the Coordination Committee meeting with the United Progressive Alliance on Monday. The meeting takes place in the backdrop of their disagreement with the Manmohan Singh Government over its approach to economic policies and on the Iran nuclear issue.

"We will tell them there is no point in taking up issues at the Coordination Committee if the Government does what it wants to. There is no agenda [for Monday’s meeting]," Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat told The Hindu .

Mr. Karat said the Left parties saw little point in making a contribution in the form of exhaustive notes. For instance, the Government decided to open up the retail sector for foreign direct investment even as the note submitted by the Left parties was under discussion.

Similarly, they had prepared a note, making out a case against privatisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports, that had suggested the Airports Authority of India carry out the modernisation. Yet, the Government went ahead with its own decision.

There is considerable disquiet among the Left parties, especially in the wake of a perception that the Coordination Committee meetings - of which eight have been held so far - end up with the Government "merely informing" them of its plans. For some time now, constituents in the Left have articulated the inefficacy of the mechanism.

The All-India Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party have been vocal in criticising the attitude of the Congress. The leaders of these parties, be it Debabrata Biswas (AIFB) or Abani Roy (RSP), have maintained that the Government took decisions in spite of their opposition, which led to a perception that the Left parties had given their consent.

Since Monday’s meeting comes ahead of the Budget session, the Left parties are likely to tell the Government of their plans for a full discussion on the Iran issue, their opposition to the privatisation of airports and FDI in the retail sector.

Separate press meet

Indicating that the Left parties planned to keep their distance from the Congress-led Government, their representatives would hold a separate press conference after the Coordination Committee meeting instead of sharing the platform, as has been the practice.

The meeting would be preceded by a meeting of the CPI (M), the CPI, the AIFB and the RSP.

The CPI(M) plans to coordinate with other parties in Parliament.

See online : The Hindu

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