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Oil price to dominate UPA-Left meet

June 15, 2006 03:00 IST

The issue of oil price hike is set to dominate the proceedings at the UPA-Left co-ordination committee meeting on Thursday evening.

The Left parties, which have vowed to continue their agitation to force a rollback of the government's decision, have decided to raise the issue of rise in the prices of essential commodities.

It is in this context that the issue of oil price hike will come up, even though it is not on the agenda, according to Left sources.

The other issues on the agenda of discussions tomorrow include the government's negotiations with different stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir and in the Northeast, especially in reference to the United Liberation Front of Asom, which had stepped up violence in the state.

Although the Left parties submitted their note or report card on two years of the UPA regime to the government on Wednesday, it will not come up for discussion. The Left will seek another coordination committee meeting to discuss the points raised in the note.

"We have given them a note, which will be considered by them. But, we will discuss it (note) later," Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat told Business Standard.

The Left report card will, in essence, be a concise summary of the 19 notes given by the Left to the government on various issues over the last two years, said Left sources.

CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury, however, said that the Left note would also contain some concrete suggestions, although he refused to specify them.

"The latest note will highlight the government's inaction on the 19 notes given by the Left parties earlier. There was some progress on some of the notes relating to rural employment guarantee scheme and right to information, but even in these cases a lot more is needed to be done," said a Left leader.

Apart from reiterating their opposition to the 'pro-US foreign policy' and economic policies like the move for full capital account convertibility, disinvestment of profit-making public sector undertakings, FDI in retail and opening up of banking and insurance sectors, the Left parties, in their note, will also demand from the government to develop some mechanism and make effective interventions to check the volatility in the stock market as it involves the interest of the middle class.

The Left note is critical of the government's perceived reluctance to talk to trade unions on issues like labour reforms.

The UPA allies have reiterated their opposition to Indian government's stance in favour of the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline.

The note also focuses on agrarian crisis in the backdrop of farmers' suicide and accuses the government of compromising on the farmers' interest during negotiations at the World Trade Organisation.

The report card is also very critical of the government's efforts to check communalism.
BS Political Bureau