The CPI (M) on Thursday claimed S Jaipal Reddy has paid the price for “defying the country’s biggest corporate” by being shifted out of the Petroleum Ministry and said this exposed “the tentacles of big business in the appointment of Ministers“.
“With this reshuffle, the process of putting persons in key economic ministries who are committed to corporate interests and the neo-liberal policies that the Prime Minister is bent upon pursuing has been completed,” senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said here.
In this context, he named several Ministers who had been given crucial economic portfolios and said “all of them represent corporate interests.”
Mr. Reddy “has had to pay the price for defying the country’s biggest corporate. This episode has starkly brought out the tentacles of big business in the appointment of ministers,” he said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of party organ People’s Democracy.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led India Against Corruption had on Wednesday alleged that the decision to shift Mr. Reddy from the key ministry was “under pressure” from the Reliance Industries.
Mr. Yechury said another “notable feature” of the Cabinet reshuffle was “the disdain shown by the Congress for the charges of corruption and dubious dealings of its Ministers,” he said, adding that with this exercise, the UPA government was now predominantly a Congress ministry.
“The reshuffle has put the Congress imprimatur on the big business-politician-bureaucrat nexus which is flourishing in the Manmohan Singh regime. More concessions to big corporates and foreign capital, more assaults on the livelihood of the people and more corrupt deals are in the offing,” he said.
Such measures called for “more intensified resistance by the working class and all sections of the working people,” he said, adding that the people “will have no other option but to ensure the exit of this government when the next Lok Sabha elections are held.”
‘Reshuffle to implement neo-liberal agenda'
Though the reshuffle is being seen as “a last ditch effort by the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi to refurbish the sinking image of the UPA government”, Mr. Yechury said “the real purpose of this exercise is to ensure that the Prime Minister’s pet neo-liberal agenda gets implemented in the remaining tenure of the government.”
Referring to Reddy’s removal from the Petroleum Ministry, he said in recent months, “the RIL has been demanding an immediate increase in the price of natural gas even though a revision is due only in April 2014.
“The Petroleum Minister had refused to yield to this demand despite the pressure from the Prime Minister’s office.
The Minister also had the audacity to question why gas production was falling steadily in the KG gas fields which was resulting in falling revenues for the government.”
Maintaining that the CPI(M) has been raising the issue since long, Yechury said the RIL “has a long sordid record for the manner in which it has been gold plating the costs, extorting higher prices and earning windfall profits with the connivance of the government“.
The CAG report on the audit of the production sharing contract for KG basin case had “vindicated the stand taken by the CPI(M) since 2006 and exposed the nexus between the UPA government and Reliance Industries,” he said.