“It is not whether Centre can pass a no-confidence test but it must pass the ‘democratic test’”

In the coming session of Parliament, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) will demand that the Congress-led government at the Centre pass “the democratic test” of allowing Parliament to decide on the issue of allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, party general secretary Prakash Karat said here on Wednesday.

“It is not a question of whether this government can pass a no-confidence test or not. We want them to pass this test — whether the Parliament can have a say in the economic policy measure which affects a vast majority of the people,” Mr. Karat said at a function to observe the foundation day of the party.

A challenge

Mr. Karat said that the CPI (M) would like to “challenge” the government. “If it is democratic and believes in the Parliamentary system, then the issue should be put to vote.”

“Here is a policy that, on a conservative estimate, affects four crore people, who are employed in retail trade in India. Shouldn’t the Parliament of India give its opinion on this? Let it be put to vote,” Mr. Karat said adding that he was well aware that the Centre would not concede this demand.

Earlier this week, Communist Party of India general secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy had said that his party will have to decide on its political strategy if a no-confidence motion is brought against the United progressive Alliance (UPA) government as there are some parties that are opposed to FDI in retail, but may vote in favour of the UPA if it came to a no-confidence motion. Instead, he had said, if a resolution against FDI in retail is brought, the CPI will decidedly vote against it.

Neo-liberal agenda

Mr. Karat said that the Congress-led government at the Centre had unleashed a series of economic reforms keeping its neo-liberal agenda in mind.

“As its political authority and mandate gets more and more reduced, the more this government is willing to take such anti-people and antinational policies,” he said.

Mr. Karat also spoke about the other main issue affecting the country “high-level corruption” which will eventually “eat into” the sovereignty and democratic system.

He said that pointing out individual cases of corruption exposing the persons involved were important, but the issue cannot be dealt with singly as corruption had now become “institutionalised.”

Vadra issue

A nexus between “big business, politicians and bureaucrats” has emerged, Mr. Karat said citing the recent exposé made against Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, as an example.

He pointed out that what had emerged was the involvement of DLF, the largest real estate company in the country, a person who had links with politicians and the Haryana government.

“The State itself is facilitating the corruption,” Mr. Karat said adding that measures such as the Lokpal would only take care of the symptoms of the problem, not the disease.

Linking the high-level corruption to neo-liberal reforms, Mr. Karat said that only overturning these policies would be able to tackle the issue.