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Pushing of policies by UPA Government undemocratic: Karat

By Our Special Correspondent

KOLKATA, JAN. 10. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member, Prakash Karat, today charged the United Progressive Alliance with pursuing "policies through ordinances," which was "inherently undemocratic."

Mr. Karat said the CPI(M) was unhappy with the way the UPA was pushing through certain measures"in the interest of big businesses and foreign capital." He was briefing the media after the three-day Central Committee meeting of the party here.

"We notice that the Government (the UPA) is keen to implement policies like the privatisation of the pension fund for Government employees and pave the way for the takeover of private banks by foreign banks by allowing them to acquire 74 per cent of shares," Mr. Karat said.

The CPI(M) did not approve of the Government "resorting to ordinances and acting in haste" as was done in regard to the patents ordinance.

Rise in prices

He expressed concern over the rise in prices of various commodities, including that of sugar. Despite a fall in oil prices in the international market, the Government had not reduced the fuel prices. The CPI(M) would take up the issue, he said.

To a question, Mr. Karat said the Left parties were providing support to the UPA from outside to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party at bay as well as to see that the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) was implemented. "We are in the process of engaging the Government on these issues. We are not talking of withdrawing support."

On seat-sharing with the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and other parties, he said that the CPI(M) would pull out all the stops to prevent the splitting of votes in the coming Assembly elections to keep the BJP out of office. The party had finalised its stand in regard to the elections in Bihar, Jharkhand and Haryana. "The CPI(M) will strive to reach an understanding with the Left parties, the RJD and other secular parties to avoid the division of ballots."

In Jharkhand, the CPI(M) would contest 11 Assembly seats. In the first phase of polling, the party would contest the Chatra (SC) and Bhabanathpur seats. In Haryana, the CPI(M) would contest five seats.The list of constituencies would be released only after the CPI(M)'s State secretariat meeting, slated for January 12. The party was also discussing with the Communist Party of India.

Talks with RJD

In Bihar, a dialogue was on with the RJD on seat adjustments. The CPI(M) had short-listed 14 seats there. In the first phase of polling in Bihar on February 3, it would contest in Hisua, Buxar and Kahalgaon. "We are certain that the BJP and its allies will suffer yet another round of defeat," Mr. Karat said.

The Polit Bureau member, Sitaram Yechury, described the pact between the Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in Jharkhand as "unilateral and not in the same spirit as in the last Lok Sabha poll."

Mr. Yechury said that another round of talks was expected tomorrow between the Congress and the RJD to sort out the differences. The CPI(M) would hold discussions with the RJD separately.

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