RSP quits coordination panel, wants Left to withdraw support

June 2nd, 2008 - 10:21 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 Left Front’s coordination panel with the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and said the Left should prepare to withdraw its legislative support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government. Alleging that the Congress-led government had pushed the common people to the “brink of ominous disaster”, the RSP said the UPA had proved to be a “starkly anti-people government”.

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 members in the Lok Sabha, is unlikely to topple the government, it indicates that the Left and Congress might be moving towards separation. The four-party Left Front is headed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

Chandrachoodan said the RSP central committee, which ended its 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 the 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 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 member 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 RSP move also betrays differences within the Left bloc. The RSP has been increasingly at loggerheads with the CPI-M, which heads the Left grouping and is not in a mood to destabilize the government right now.

However, the CPI-M tried to play down its ally’s diatribe. “Already for the last one-and-a-half years, this committee has stopped functioning,” CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters.

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

“The present government has in 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 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. Elections to the Lok sabha are only a year away.

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