RSP out of UPA-Left panel, says Left should ditch government (Lead)

June 2nd, 2008 - 8:12 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) Monday pulled out of the coordination panel with the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and said the Left should prepare to withdraw its vital legislative support to the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Alleging that the Congress-led government had pushed the common people to the “brink of ominous disaster”, the RSP said the UPA coalition had proved to be a disaster.

RSP general secretary T.J. Chandrachoodan announced that his party would not be taking part in any more UPA-Left coordination committee meetings. Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi heads the committee.

Although the decision of the RSP - which has just three MPs in the Lok Sabha - is unlikely to derail the government, it shows that the Left and Congress might be inching towards an eventual divorce.

Chandrachoodan said the Central Committee of the RSP, which ended a two-day meeting here, “once again appeals to other three Left parties to thoroughly review the situation and withdraw the support rendered to such a starkly anti-people government with immediate effect”.

Asked why RSP was not taking back its own support to the government, he answered: “We (Left) extended support together, we would want the withdrawal to take place together.”

The RSP move also betrays differences within the Left bloc. The RSP has been increasingly at loggerheads with the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which heads the Left group and which is not in a mood to destabilize the government right now.

But RSP leaders went hammer and tongs against the UPA government.

“The present government has no way attempted to reverse the economic policies as pursued by the earlier Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and thus pushed the vast majority of toiling people of our country to the brink of ominous disaster,” said the RSP.

“At present, the threshold limit has been badly exceeded and the present rulers are in no mood to actually mend their ways,” Chandrachoodan told reporters.

The RSP, however, said it would remain a member of the UPA-Left nuclear panel that debates the contentious India-US civil nuclear deal.

The Left, whose combined strength provides valuable support to the Congress-led UPA government, says it will not allow the government to make operational the nuclear pact with Washington.

The RSP said the government had failed to contain soaring food prices.

“This prime minister is helpless in all the affairs. He has been helpless in containing inflation. Now he says he cannot stop an increase in the prices of petroleum products,” RSP’s Rajya Sabha MP Abani Roy said.

Although Chandrachoodan admitted that pulling out of the coordination panel would not be a setback for the government, he said: “We are sending a signal.”

The party said it would soon convene a conclave of Left parties, groups and like-minded intellectuals to discuss the formation of a third alternative to the Congress and the BJP. Lok Sabha elections are only a year away.

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