Had the Ministers resigned earlier, Parliament would have conducted business: Karat

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Monday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was “presiding over a very corrupt regime” and needed to explain his role and that of his office in both the coal block allocation and 2G spectrum cases.

“The episode of the two Ministers highlights how corruption has become endemic in this government and how efforts are made to cover it up. The Prime Minister and his office cannot escape responsibility for these affairs, since during coal block allocations the Prime Minister was directly looking after the Ministry,” CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters here.

He said a joint secretary of the PMO was involved in the discussions to change the status report of the CBI to the Supreme Court.

“We hope he will eventually come out and tell us what really happened,” Mr. Karat said.

Sharing with reporters, the deliberations of the Central Committee, Mr. Karat said Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar were finally forced to resign after Prime Minister and the Congress resisted this demand while the Parliament session was on.

“This has exposed the hypocrisy of the Congress which has blamed the Opposition for the disruption of the Parliamentary proceedings since the wrongdoing of the Ministers became known. Had the resignations been taken earlier, Parliament would have conducted business,” he said.

“Both the Congress and the government are jointly responsible for delaying this decision which led to disruption of the House,” Mr. Karat said.

Asked why the CPI(M) was not demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation, he said the CBI investigation was still on.

Food Security Bill

The Central Committee also discussed the proposed Food Security Bill and the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill which the government wants adopted in Parliament.

“We warn the government not to try to issue an ordinance (on Food Bill). Let there be a debate on these two bills in Parliament,” Mr. Karat said as the party had serious issues with the proposed legislation.

While the CPI(M) wanted the Public Distribution System to be universalised in the Food Security Bill, it saw the Land Acquisition Bill rife with flaws as it exempted 13 laws from its purview, including those governing acquisitions for railways, highways and mines “under which the bulk of acquisition takes place,” he said.

Zakia Jafri case

On Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, he said following the latest evidence in the Zakia Jafri case relating to the 2002 communal pogrom, “fresh charges should be framed against him and he should not continue in the top post.”

“It is crystal clear from Zakia Jafri’s evidence that the police were prevented from acting against the rioters despite several reports about preparations for imminent attacks,” Mr. Karat said.

Assailing the “so-called Gujarat model which the BJP government under Mr. Modi has followed,” the CPI (M) leader said this had led to growing deprivation and a fall in human development indices in the State.

On the BJP’s rout in Karnataka, the Central Committee noted it was a result of “rank corruption, the nexus with the mining mafia and misrule of the BJP State government.”

The Central Committee also asked the government not to proceed with the Indo-EU Free Trade Agreement, saying it would have “negative impact on virtually every area of economic activity, including agriculture, industry and services.”

For instance, the impact of subsidised dairy imports from the EU can jeopardise the livelihood of millions of farmers and milk cooperatives, Mr. Karat said.

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