Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat and the CPI national secretary D. Raja have dubbed as “sheer hypocrisy” Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani’s frequent remarks about bringing back the illegal funds stashed away in tax havens.

The two Left leaders who were here for the final rally of the grand alliance at separate media meets here on Tuesday ridiculed Mr. Advani’s comments that offloading money illegally parked abroad was top on BJP’s agenda.

They said it was ironic that the BJP-led NDA which was responsible for the huge flow of Indian money into the tax havens through the infamous ‘Mauritius route’ and never closed it should now give sermons. Unless the route was sealed, nothing tangible could be done to bring back the parked money, they said.

Mr. Raja recalled in this context the Left’s frantic efforts at the time of passing of the interim budget to get details of the Indians who hid their illegal money in Swiss and other banks abroad. He asked what the NDA did about it when it was in power and criticised that the then Finance Minister, Yaswant Sinha, had no answer when the issue of ‘Mauritius route’ was raised in the Parliament in the context of the ‘hawala money’ scam.

Mr. Karat and Mr. Raja articulated similar views on the emergence of the Third Front and how it had enough space in the country’s polity as a viable and strong alternative to the Congress and the BJP, which he felt had either disintegrated or lost their relevance in most regions.

They said that the Third Front was well ahead of the UPA and the NDA in States where it was contesting while the Congress, which got isolated among its own poll partners, was fast losing its base. The BJP and Mr. Advani were living in an ‘illusory world,’ Mr. Raja said.

Mr. Karat said the Left parties had to quit UPA only when the Manmohan Singh government with its obsession for a strategic alliance with the U.S. started surrendering to that country even on matters of vital economic interests. Even now Dr. Singh was liberalising the guidelines for FDI to appease U.S. and foreign corporates.

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