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Left opposes move to divest BHEL shares

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JAN. 25. The Left parties today opposed the move of the United Progressive Alliance Government to disinvest shares in the public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), alleging that the decision violated the Common Minimum Programme (CMP).

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member, Prakash Karat, said that BHEL was a profit-making `navratna' company that was globally competitive. He said the move to disinvest in such a company would have serious implications for the economic sovereignty of the country.

Addressing a party gathering after inaugurating a reception committee office for the 18th Party Congress being held here in April, Mr. Karat said the CMP made it clear that profit-making public sector undertakings would not be disinvested. He said the Government was resorting to such a measure to fill its budgetary deficit.

He also said the CPI (M) was opposed to the opening up of foreign direct investment in the print medium and accused the Government of pursuing polices of the previous National Democratic Alliance regime. On the party's attitude towards the United States, he warned that America was trying to influence every sphere in India, including military collaboration.

The CPI too disagreed with the move and accused the Government of "diluting'' the CMP. The party secretary, D. Raja, said disinvestment of BHEL would mean privatisation of a profit-making public sector undertaking, which was "contrary to the spirit of CMP."

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