Coimbatore: The battle lines between the Left and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-led government over the Indo-US nuclear deal and economic policies have been drawn, and if the government doesn’t abide by the Left’s demands, it will be “taking a risk”, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury said.
Speaking to the press on the second day of the party’s triennial congress in Coimbatore, Yechury warned the government to back off from its pro-rich economic policies. The Left would otherwise begin a nationwide agitation from 15 April, he said.
But by announcing the CPM’s decision to float a “third alternative”, which he distinguished from an election-driven “third front”, Yechury sounded the bugle for national elections in the near future.
All non-Congress and anti-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) parties would be natural allies in such an alternative, he said, pointing to the CPM’s twin agenda on anti-communalism and anti-rich policies.
Asked?if the?CPM would partner with the Congress in the elections, he signalled in the negative, saying the UPA itself had been forged “within 48 hours“ after the 2004 elections.
Yechury targeted the price rise in essential commodities, saying the government must restore cuts in the public distribution system, withdraw all 25 essential commodities from speculative trading in the futures market (so far, only rice, wheat and pulses have been withdrawn) and take stringent action against hoarders.
He also urged restructuring tariff on oil imports, admitting that the rise in global prices was contributing to inflation.
However, since government revenues also rose with the rise in oil prices, it was necessary to apply tariffs on import quantities and not on the price of oil, as was being done so far.
But it is over the nuclear deal and not on the government’s economic policies that the fracture between the Left and the UPA government could soon possibly take place.
Asked what the Left would do if the government took the draft it had negotiated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the next stage, that is for clearance to IAEA’s board of governors, Yechury said, “We’ve told the government that if it went ahead and operationalized the deal, then they are taking a risk. That is their call.” He wouldn’t say if the Left would, in that case, withdraw support to the government.