Left trying to distance itself from government

June 6th, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi,June 6 (IANS)The Left parties are trying to distance themselves from the Congress-Led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the wake of fuel price hiks amid soaring food prices, party leader said Friday. All the four partners in the Left bloc - the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Forward Bloc - are unanimous that it has become imperative to move away from the Manmohan Singh government they have supported since 2004.

But there is no unanimity among them on how to go about it although they all seem to feel that they will be hit hard in the 2009 general elections, when they go to seek the mandate of the people, if they continue to prop up UPA.

“We are not considering withdrawal of support. But we have to distance ourselves from the government to show that we do not agree with its policies,” CPI-M politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai told IANS.

The CPI favours a more strident strategy.

“We may consider extending issue-based support to the UPA government. We have to dissociate ourselves from the UPA government’s policies,” said Sudhakar Reddy, the CPI deputy general secretary.

In 1989, the Left parties extended support to the National Front coalition government of Prime Minister V.P. Singh. The CPI-M, RSP and Forward Bloc also supported the United Front governments in the 1990s, of which the CPI was a part.

“We can decide which issues to support the government on and which others not to,” said Reddy. “We have to wait for the right time to take this decision.”

The RSP last week announced its decision to pull out of the UPA-Left co-ordination committee as a mark of protest against the UPA government’s policies. “We will tell the other Left Front partners at our next meeting to withdraw support (to the government),” said RSP general secretary Abani Roy.

“We will have to decide our course of action if the others do not agree,” added Roy. The “course of action” could include withdrawing support to the UPA government.

Unlike the RSP, neither the CPI-M nor the CPI is considering total withdrawal of legislative support at this point. Senior leaders in these two parties say that bringing the UPA government down would strengthen the hand of a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

What has upset the Left most is the UPA government’s refusal to consider the alternative proposals given by them to neutralize the impact of soaring global oil prices. Similarly in case of spiralling food prices the Left had been insisting on banning futures trading - a suggestion that has gone unheeded.

After last month’s setbacks in the panchayat election of West Bengal, the CPI-M believes that price rise, coupled with the latest hike in prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, has given another stick to its adversary, Trinamool Congress, to beat the CPI-M with.

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