Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary said here on Sunday that the party would insist on its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam.
“We will stick to our stand on the JPC but we would also like the Budget session to be held. To discuss how to achieve this, we have decided to talk to all the secular Opposition parties with whom we have been cooperating in Parliament so far,” Mr. Karat told journalists after a two-day meeting of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau.
Describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that he was willing to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as “more of a political gesture,” Mr. Karat said the claim made by Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal, that the CAG report was erroneous, explained why the government was refusing to concede the JPC demand.
Mr. Karat was also critical of the Centre's inability to control food inflation and reiterated the party's demand to curb futures trading in food items.
Taking a dig at the Trinamool Congress, he said, “I am told the Trinamool Congress is also interested in fighting price rise. That should be done in the government.” The Trinamool Congress, he pointed out, had been party to decisions such as the hike in petrol prices by Rs. 2.52 during the day “which are causing an unbearable burden on the people.”
He said the principle of collective responsibility was involved and the Trinamool Congress was not removed from the Agriculture or Finance Ministries. Asked to comment on the Rath Yatra organised by the youth wing of the BJP to Lal Chowk in Srinagar, Mr. Karat said that it would “only aggravate the situation” and that the BJP's understanding of the situation was faulty.
‘Chidambaram diverting attention'
Alleging that the collaboration between the Trinamool Congress and the Maoists was the main cause of the violence being witnessed in West Bengal, Mr. Karat expressed surprise that instead of addressing the issue, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram was trying to divert attention by holding the CPI(M) responsible for the violence.
“In the face of mounting evidence of this collaboration between the Trinamool Congress and the Maoists it is surprising that the Union Home Minster seeks to divert attention away from this and blame the CPI(M),” Mr. Karat said.
Mr. Karat said the Left parties had lost 365 supporters since the Lok Sabha elections, but Mr. Chidambaram “is turning a blind eye to this.”
Mr. Karat said the upcoming Assembly elections in Kerala and West Bengal had been discussed.
He expressed confidence in the party's prospects in West Bengal saying that the Left Front had in the last three months organised various programmes and received a favourable response from the people
Two days ahead of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's visit to New Delhi where he is expected to discuss the law and order situation in the State with Mr. Chidambaram and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr. Karat said the Polit Bureau had given “full backing to the State government to see that violence is controlled.”
He refused to comment on the recent killings in Netai village near Lalgarh in Paschim Medinipur district even as the death toll in the incident mounted to nine during the day, as investigations were on and a decision from the Calcutta High Court on whether there should be a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry was pending.
Asked about the presence of “armed harmad camps” of the CPI(M) in the Jangalmahal area as alleged by Mr. Chidambaram in his letter to Mr. Bhattacharjee, Mr. Karat said there were camps for evicted persons in the region and he only knew of Maoists and “no other terms.”
“The biggest armed force to operate in this State is the Maoists. This is not a problem of West Bengal alone,” he said.