Points to unprecedented food inflation, hike in levy on petrol and diesel

Cautioning the Manmohan Singh government of increased struggles against the “pernicious legislation'' it plans to push after the budget session reconvenes, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said its efforts to isolate the ruling party and reverse its retrograde policies would continue.

“The fight within parliament is not some design to topple the government. It is part of the political struggle to isolate the ruling party and to carry forward the fight to reverse the retrograde policies,” CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat said in an article in the latest edition of party organ People's Democracy.

Commenting on the struggles by the party both in Parliament and outside, Mr. Karat said the first part of the budget session brought out some clear markers about the political scene in the country.

While the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition won last year's Lok Sabha elections, it failed to get majority on its own having won only 262 seats. It was able to form the government with support from the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) without the Congress formally requesting these parties to do so.

“But the Congress-led government started behaving as if it had got a sweeping endorsement for its policies. It didn't recognise the fragility of the coalition and its outside support. Months hence, the arrangement lies shattered,'' the article said, pointing to the SP and the RJD as parties that distanced themselves from the UPA.

Flagging the unprecedented price rise of food items and essential commodities, the hike in the customs and excise duties on petrol and diesel, slash in subsidy on fertilizers, increasing encroachment of the States' sphere in education, he said, these issues were bound to cause further friction.

“The move by the UPA government to push the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill, that concerns the lives and safety of the people in the event of a nuclear disaster, is the other indication of how the Congress-led UPA government is impervious to the mood of the people.

“The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that the U.S. suppliers of nuclear equipment have no liability in case of a nuclear accident in the reactors supplied by them and to see that the entire burden falls on the Indian government and the tax payers.”

Yet, the Manmohan Singh government had no compunction in bringing such a Bill. The failure to introduce it in the Lok Sabha in the face of strong resistance from all sections of the opposition only highlighted how isolated the UPA government had become, he said.

“The sharpened conflict within parliament is only a reflection of how popular discontent is growing to the UPA government's failure to curb price rise and the policies which favour big business and pro-U.S. lobbies.”

More In: National | News