Special Correspondent

“Prime Minister being dragged into corporate war”

NEW DELHI: The Left parties on Tuesday indicted the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for setting a “dangerous precedent” with the Prime Minister being asked to personally intervene to mediate between the Ambani brothers.

“The corporate houses are openly in the fray to lobby their interests in the run-up to the confidence vote [being faced by the Manmohan Singh government in the Lok Sabha on July 22],” the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said in a statement. The CPI(M) Polit Bureau said: “The PMO should not become the conciliation office for warring corporates, however desperate the ruling party may be to retain power.”

The CPI said it was shocking the Prime Minister and the PMO were being dragged into the corporate war. “This grossly demeans the Prime Minister and his office,” the party Central Secretariat said.

“This is a dangerous trend that has surfaced after the Left parties have withdrawn their support to the government and certain other forces have been co-opted by the government to rescue itself. The CPI holds that this is detrimental to our democratic polity.”

All India Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas described the development as “unfortunate” in the polity of the country.

Mr. Biswas said big industrial houses and multinationals of India and the U.S. were interested in seeing the civilian nuclear deal through. He said corporate houses were “disturbed” over the past four years when the Left parties supported the UPA government from outside and effectively blocked a dozen economic measures relating to banking, insurance, etc.

“The Congress is adept in playing such politics and now it would push through all these measures which will make the corporate houses happy,” the Forward Bloc leader said.

PMO denial

Rejecting the Left’s allegation, the PMO said there was no question of the Prime Minister getting involved in corporate affairs. The PMO said Dr. Singh’s meeting with Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani on Monday was part of his regular interaction with industry leaders.

“People of India know Manmohan Singh better than to believe that he would get involved in corporate affairs,” said the Prime Minister’s media adviser, Sanjaya Baru.

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