CPI calls for Left unity, third alternative

March 23rd, 2008 - 7:53 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, March 23 (IANS) The Communist Party of India (CPI) began its 20th national congress here Sunday with a call for Left unity and building an alternative both to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) through common struggles based on a Left and democratic programme. Hitting out at the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, which the Left parties support from outside, for its “failures” on various fronts and for its “pro-US tilt” in foreign policy, the CPI warned that the BJP and its allies were only waiting in the wings.

“Our party thinks it is time we make every effort to build a Left and democratic alternative to both the Congress and BJP through common struggles on people’s issues,” CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said in his inaugural address at the five-day conclave.

Echoing similar views, leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the All India Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) said the Left unity was crucial for their future.

“Left initiative is required for creating and presenting a third alternative before the people. It is on the bedrock of Left unity that our future advance will take place,” said CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat.

Bardhan hinted at joining hands with other secular and democratic forces.

“There are other secular, democratic parties and groups who are also looking for such an alternative. We have to interact with them and try to draw them into common struggles for forging such an alternative,” he said without naming the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), a new alliance of regional parties.

He warned that the BJP and its allies were trying to exploit the “failures” of the UPA government to make a bid for power, and called for a common effort by all Left and secular democratic forces to fight back “this communal reactionary danger.”

“Bereft of any credible programme in the new situation, (BJP) has swung back to its old Hindutva slogans. It has seized upon the Sethusamudram project and given it a communal flavour. Its hypocrisy, its double talk and double think are there for all to see,” he said.

The meet, which will chalk out strategies for the next elections, will deliberate on a host of issues, including the India-US nuclear deal, price rise, agrarian crisis and problems of the unorganised sector.

More than 1,000 delegates and invitees from 30 countries are attending the meet, which is significant in the backdrop of the Left parties’ growing differences with the Congress-led UPA government over various issues.

Bardhan blamed the UPA for its failure to check price rise. “Prices of all items like wheat, flour, rice, dal, edible oil, milk, eggs and vegetables have sky-rocketed causing great distress to the poor and even the middle class. Their household budgets have gone awry.”

Bardhan said the farm loan waiver, announced in the union budget, was not enough to address the agrarian crisis.

He also had a dig at the government for its “pro-US tilt”.

“The UPA government is wilfully violating the Common Minimum Programme which commits it to pursue an independent foreign policy aimed at promoting multi-polarity in world relations,” Bardhan said, referring to an agreed political agenda between the UPA and its Left allies which forms basis for the Left’s outside support to the central government.

“We are watching with deep concern the government’s policies which, step by step, are leading to a close strategic partnership between India and the US. The nuclear deal is not just an innocent attempt to gain access to nuclear energy but an attempt to cap the strategic partnership.”

“The Hyde Act, which governs this agreement, contains a number of restrictive, intrusive and extraneous causes that are derogatory to our sovereignty and the and the pursuit of an untrammelled and independent foreign policy.”

In his address, Karat pledged to continue the fight against military collaboration agreement with the US. “The Left should wage a battle for disengaging India from the strategic embrace of the US.”

Optimistic about the future of the Left parties in the country, Bardhan said the existence of democratically elected Left governments in three states and their success in repeated elections and the presence of a strong Left in parliament shows both relevance and strength of the left in Indian politics.”

“The latest resounding victory of the Left Front in Tripura shows the confidence people have in the Left,” he stressed.

“Unless we enlarge our base in the Hindi belt, we cannot expect to play major role at national level,” Bardhan noted.

The meeting began with the flag hoisting by veteran communist leader B. Dharma Biksham.

The foreign delegates from China, Cuba, North Korea, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the US, Canada, Australia, Italy, Japan and the Czech Republic were felicitated at the inaugural session.

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