Third Front rule will scrap US defence accord, review n-deal: Karat (Roundup)

March 16th, 2009 - 10:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), a key player in the emerging Third Front, Monday said if the grouping comes to power it would scrap the defence framework agreement with the US and also “review and rework” the India-US nuclear deal.
CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat, addressing a press conference after releasing the party’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, accused the UPA government of committing the “biggest betrayal” by forging a strategic alliance with the US. He said all the partners of the Third Front are committed against the nuclear deal.

He accused the UPA government of following “the US-Israel axis” and said there will be no military collaboration with the US.

The CPI-M also contested claims of the Manmohan Singh government of supporting the Palestinian cause - an issue that may go down well with some Muslims in the country.

Karat said action must be taken against those who had put their “ill-gotten money in secret Swiss bank accounts” and urged the Manmohan Singh government to write to the Swiss authorities for related information.

“This is something the government can do. It won’t violate the model code of conduct,” he said, adding the governments of the US and Britain had also sought similar information from the Swiss authorities.

The CPI-M’s manifesto promises to end further tax concessions to corporates and to “launch a drive to unearth black money, especially those stashed in Swiss banks and other offshore tax havens”.

Karat also took a swipe at senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee for ridiculing the Third Front, and said Mukherjee would realise the importance of the grouping after the poll results.

Karat said: “We don’t form a front. We are discussing with our allies and partners. After the elections, we shall combine the partners to form the government.”

“This Third Front will hopefully emerge after the elections.”

Asked whether his party would join the Third Front government if it came to power, Karat said: “Hopefully, if such a situation develops, our party central committee will decide.”

About the name Third Front being used to describe the grouping of 10 parties, Karat said the Left parties and their partners had never used the term. It was coined and was being popularised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani and others.

He criticised the BJP for following a communal agenda, and said it would not come to power. Referring to the attacks against minorities in the BJP-ruled Karnataka and in Kandhamal area of Orissa, where the BJP was in the ruling alliance, he said: “The country cannot accept such a party pursuing the communal agenda.”

Emphasising the need for a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the centre, he said: “We have spelled out alternative policies and want the new government to follow them. We need a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alternative government.”

The party manifesto promises a pro-people economic policy, better deal for the oppressed, including Dalits, adivasis and the minority, and a secular government, Karat said.

Referring to the public distribution system (PDS), Karat said the Manmohan Singh-led government had weakened it instead of strengthening it.

The CPI-M general secretary alleged that the UPA government had adopted an “attitude of hesitation and compromise” on communal issues. He referred to attacks on minorities in Orissa and Karnataka and the central government’s delay in intervening to curb the violence.

Karat said key initiatives of the UPA government like National Rural Employment Guarantee Act were there because the Left parties, which had supported the government, pushed for major changes in the draft of the law.

The CPI-M leader also claimed credit for protecting thousands of jobs and the money invested in insurance, banking and pension, saying only constant Left intervention had kept the country’s financial sector healthy.

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