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Congress ministers must behave: CPI

November 26, 2005 16:20 IST

The Communist Party of India, a key constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition, on Saturday criticised the 'behaviour' of some Congress ministers and warned the party that it should 'tread carefully', as the government cannot function without the support of Left parties.

"Some Congress ministers forget that they are in a coalition, they forget they have only 145 seats, they behave as if they are in a majority," CPI general secretary A B Bardhan said, addressing a massive rally of its trade union wing All India Trade Union Congress.

He told the Congress that it should tread carefully as it does not have the majority to run the government. "Samajhke chalo, sambhalke chalo, you have only 145 and you don't have a majority," he added.

Bardhan asserted that the government's 'stability' depended on the support of Left parties, but said it was not its style to threaten the government every other day about withdrawing support. "We are realists and we do not want to impose anything, but one thing you must not forget is that you are there because of our support," he said.

Training his guns against the economic and foreign policies of the Centre, he alleged the Congress-led government was following the footsteps of its predecessor, the Bharatiya Janata Party, by succumbing to pressures of American diktats.

"We also support friendship with America, but we should not become their slave," he said, and criticised India's vote at the Indian Atomic Energy Agency on the Iranian nuclear issue, claiming it was done under American pressure.

Bardhan said CPI was not against foreign investment, but warned the government that it should not trample profit-making public sector units and open up 'sensitive' areas to multinational companies, in view of national interest.

"Don't destroy existing PSUs, which have triggered economic development in the country. If you want to bring in foreign investment, do it but not at the cost of our navaratna PSUs," he said.

He opposed foreign investment in insurance, banking, finance and retail sectors, terming them as life-lines of Indian economy and said, "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram must understand that we are not supporting them for implementing such policies."

He also opposed the proposed Pensions Bill and the hire and fire policy pursued by private companies.

Earlier, addressing the rally, which kickstarted the 38th annual session of AITUC, its general secretary Gurudas Das Gupta gave a clarion call for workers to unite and 'struggle' against the 'anti-people' policies of the government.

He called for unity among all trade unions, irrespective of their party affiliations, for what he called a struggle against 'exploitation of workers' by the government, which promotes investment.

Gupta asked the government to impose more tax on rich industrialists and business tycoons and utilise the money for development purposes. "Our alternative plan for the next budget is clear - tax the rich for resource mobilisation," he said.

Referring to the just-concluded Bihar Assembly elections, he said, "People are impatient, the government must do something immediately to address their grievances. If your work they will support you, otherwise they will ensure your exit."

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