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Scrap Article 355, 356, says CPI-M
Ganesh Nadar in Coimbatore | April 02, 2008 21:08 IST
Last Updated: April 02, 2008 21:32 IST
The 19th Congress of the CPI-M in Coimbatore on Wednesday discussed the uneven growth of the party in the country. On the fifth day of the Congress, the party demanded scrapping the controversial Article 355 and 356.
The party had decided to take up local issues to make the party gain strength in "the weaker states".
Taking credit for the NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), the party said wages also should be in the form of food grains. They also said that the money for the scheme should be routed through state governments.
Condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the party criticized the fact that India was the largest buyer of Israeli weapons. The party also urged the Centre to severe all military and security ties with Israel.
Wednesday's press conference was addressed by West Bengal Chief Minster Buddhadeb Bhatacharjee. He began, saying: "I am authorised to speak on only two issues. The Centre-State relationship and the performance of the Left governments.
He said, "Though the Centre collected the majority of taxes, it did not share it with the states properly. They are giving 30% of the collection to the states. We demand at least 50 percent."
"We want decentralisation of power from the Centre to the state and from the state to panchayats. Strong states will lead to a strong Centre and not vice versa. Articles 355 and 356 have to go. They were used for the first time to overthrow a Communist government and since then numerous other times," the West Bengal Chief Minister said.
"Though the Sarkaria commission came out with reforms, most of them were not implemented. The governor's rights have to be discussed and also the manner in which he is selected. Central forces cannot be sent into any state without the consent of the government," he said, in an apparent reference to the situation in Nandigram.
Praising the three Left governments in the country -- Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura, he said they were in the forefront of land reforms. Kerala, he said, is the best known for education, health care and social welfare.
On Special Economic Zones, he said, "It is madness that the Centre has given clearance to 400 SEZs throughout the country. West Bengal had only 5 SEZs and was planning 5 more. Kerala had only one and Tripura none.
On the entry of retail majors in the country, he said, "We don't want foreigners selling vegetables. Even the big Indian companies in retail would be controlled in such a way that they could not destroy the small traders."
The CPI-M also condemned the attack on its office on Wednesday by alleged BJP-RSS men in Pune.