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Ministry size=stability: CPI-M

May 22, 2004 22:17 IST

The Communist Party of India-Marxist believes the 68-member Manmohan Singh ministry leaves no room for negotiations in the future.

"The size of the ministry is small as compared to the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet. The size gives indication that it will be stable," CPI-M spokesman Sitaram Yechury said after attending the swearing-in-ceremony.

"The size has left no room for negotiations and pressures. From the very start the signal has gone that this is the ministry and it will remain," Yechury said.

On the differences which surfaced while deciding the composition of the Union Council of Ministers and its likely impact on the stability of the government, he said, "in a coalition before government formation every party tries everything to maintain its interests. Now all disputes are over and on this basis the government will run."

The CPI-M has convened an emergency meeting of the party's Politburo in Kolkata on Tuesday, May 25, to take a final decision on the Common Minimum Programme for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.

Politburo member and West Bengal state CPI-M Secretary Anil Biswas said all the 16 Politburo members would exchange views on the CMP.

The Politburo partly held a meeting in Kolkata and in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday to discuss the draft CMP. Yechury flew to Kolkata to discuss the CMP with Politburo members Jyoti Basu, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya, Biman Bose and Biswas.

He later flew to Thiruvananthapuram to discuss the CMP with party ideologue Prakash Karat and other Politburo members.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India warned it will not give a "blank cheque" of support to the UPA government and would expect it to stick to the CMP after it was finalised.

"Let them (the Congress) prepare the Common Minimum Programme. We hope the government will stick to the CMP that will be finalised. In any way, we are not giving them a blank cheque of support," West Bengal CPI secretary Manju Majumdar told reporters in Kolkata.

He said a three-member committee consisting of CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan, Vasudevan Nair and Gurudas Dasgupta was now preparing a note as to what the party expected from the CMP. "The note will be given to the Congress, its allies and also to the CPI-M, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc and other supporting parties," he said.

"We are yet to receive any draft of the CMP from the Congress," Mazumdar said, adding, "Definitely we would tell the government not to effect any changes in the labour laws as per the proposals of the earlier BJP-led NDA government. We will ask the government to see what additional benefits could be ensured in the interests of the workers."

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