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Do not cave in at Cancun: SJM tells govt
BS Political Bureau in New Delhi | September 03, 2003 10:05 IST
Adopting a rigid stance on the World Trade Organisation negotiations, the RSS-backed Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh on Tuesday appealed to the government not to be cowed down by 'isolation' and look for 'an alternative to the WTO.'
At a dharna organised by the SJM-BMS combine and also attended by representatives of various other RSS-affiliated outfits here, there was much sound and fury against the WTO.
But there was also a discernible change in stand towards the government as all top leaders avoided taking on the government and made conciliatory noises.
BMS founder Dattopant Thengdi who is known for his no-hold-bar criticism against the government looked quite moderate today. His 30-minute address was targetted at the 'Gore desh' - an expression he coined for describing the developed nations.
But he also gave a firm message to Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley that the Sangh Parivar would appreciate 'failure of Cancun' more than its success.
Referring to agriculture issues, Thengdi said India must insist on lowering of agriculture subsidy by developed nations and lower tariffs to give a level playing field to developing nations.
"They have been trying to win over weaker countries through dubious means," he said referring to the attempts by the US-EU combine to win over poorer nations of Africa.
Thengdi said the EU-US would not agree to reduce the agriculture subsidy because they had created the WTO to exploit developing nations.
He rejected the suggestion that the WTO was a democratic platform, where all countries entertained equal rights.
Unlike the past, Thengdi avoided making any critical reference to the government but made it clear that the Maran strategy of taking an extreme position would only help India.
Perhaps, Thengdi was somewhat restrained by the presence of RSS joint general secretary Madan Das Devi who co-ordinated between the Sangh Parivar and the government.
Though the BMS-SJM combine managed to draw a large but uninspired crowd at the rally from all over the country, senior leaders of the organisation seemed quite enthusiastic by putting up a grand show against the WTO.
There was also an attempt to paper over fault line in the Sangh Parivar as former BJP general secretary KN Govindacharya avoided speaking on the issue.
Later a delegation of SJM-BMS leaders headed by SJM convener Murlidhar Rao handed over a memorandum to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and urged the government not dilute its stand and make a determined move to frustrate the US-EU designs to turn the whole negotiation process in their favour.
The memorandum explicitly set a benchmark for Arun Jaitley and urged the government not to be deterred by the threat of isolation and adopt the Maran strategy of Doha ministerial meeting.
"Jaitley will have to proceed from where Maran left and do precisely what he did" the memorandum said.That the Sangh Parivar is setting the guideline for the government is evident by the suggestion in the memorandum which reads, "we cannot sacrifice national interests in order to earn good name that we helped the meet to end in success and did not allow the meet to end in failure. The responsibility to ensure that the meet does not end in failure is more on the West that on the rest."