Smaller states will weaken the federal structure of the country, and a strong Centre along with strong states is needed for the nation to develop, said Sitaram Yechury, CPI (M) Polit Bureau member and MP, on Tuesday.

Delivering a speech on the current trends in national politics on the 18{+t}{+h} death anniversary of the party doyen Makineni Basava Punnaiah, Mr. Yechury said that the CPI (M) submitted its report to the Srikrishna Committee arguing that the division of states should be only on linguistic basis. There were demands for the formation of 22 new states in the country and this trend was a threat to the very integrity of the nation.

There was an increasing demand for more states from the areas where there was no development. Investment was usually made in developed areas accelerating the growth of these areas and increasing the disparity. But unless there was a balance between the states and the Centre, the federal structure of the country will be in danger, he said.

Asserting that mobilising the people and launching movements against economic exploitation was the primary strategy of his party, Mr. Yechury said efforts were also being made to take along all other secular parties in this endeavour. The Left parties have garnered the support of 13 parties on the issue of price rise. If the MPs belonging to all these parties oppose the Finance Bill in the current session of Parliament, the ruling UPA government will be scrounging for MPs again and could have a majority of just two, including the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. There was, however, still doubt about the stand of the BSP, he said. Mr. Yechury said though India was one of the only three countries that showed positive growth in the world, the rich were benefiting more from the growth and the poor were getting poorer because they were getting more exploited. “Two Indias are emerging because of the pro-rich and anti-poor policies of the Government,” he said. The rich were being given huge tax exemptions and concessions but nothing was being done to check the rise of prices.

Explaining the situation in West Bengal, the CPI (M) leader said that the party was facing a setback only because of all the opposition parties coming together to weaken the Left. And, unfortunately for the party, even the Maoists were on a murder spree killing agricultural workers, poor farmers and tribals. But the CPI (M) cadres were able to face all this because the people were still with them.

Mr. Yechury paid glowing tributes to Makineni Basavapunaiah and his contribution to the party and its movements and recalled how the late leader used to encourage him when he worked for the party as a youth.

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