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Updated: September 15, 2009 14:51 IST

Right to Food Act a gimmick, says Karat

Mahim Pratap Singh
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CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat addressing a press conference at Bhopal on Sunday. Photo: A.M. Faruqui
CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat addressing a press conference at Bhopal on Sunday. Photo: A.M. Faruqui

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said here on Sunday that a mass movement would be organised against inflation, grain hoarding and the ruling United Progressive Alliance’s government’s “faulty” food policy

“We will hold State-wide conventions in September and October. After that, we will organise a mass rally in November,” he told journalists. “The government wants to extend futures trading to foodgrains, which is absolutely unacceptable, and we are going to protest against it.”

He termed the Right to Food Act a gimmick. The Antyodaya Anna Yojana, he reasoned, provided 35 kg of grain at Rs.2 a kg, while the Act promised 25 kg of grain at Rs.3 a kg. This meant the Act would actually provide lesser grain at a higher price.

Mr. Karat said the U.S.government would operationalise the nuclear deal with India only after getting a law through American Congress to add a “limited liability” clause to the agreement. “If anything goes wrong in the reactors India is going to buy from the U.S., the U.S. will be liable for a limited compensation of only $450 million.” “Other countries such as France and Russia have no such limited liability clause. We demand complete liability on the part of the U.S.”

As for the crisis in the BJP, he said: “The RSS is a powerful communal body and the BJP is its political wing. It is an illusion that people have of the BJP as a political party with a cultural wing in the form of the RSS. The power equation is the other way round.”

Clarification:

Prakash Karat, CPI(M) general secretary, writes: “In the report and headline ‘Right to Food Act a gimmick, says Karat’ (August 31, 2009), of my press conference in Bhopal, it has been wrongly attributed to me that I called the Food Security legislation ‘a gimmick’. I had not said so. What I had said was that the reported provisions in the proposed Food Security bill will not serve the purpose of ensuring food security. I had pointed out the flaws in the proposals which have been correctly stated in the report. The import of my remarks is that we would welcome a Food Security legislation provided it ensures adequate quantum of rice (35 kilos) at Rs.2 for all deserving families, and not just to the existing BPL cardholders.” (“A gimmick, says Karat”, the promo on page 1, was also incorrect.)

Keywords: CPI(M)Prakash Karat

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