Special Correspondent

“Parties opposed to Congress, BJP will come together”

We are confident of forming an effective alternative

Seeks sector-specific stimulus package for industry

COIMBATORE: Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said here on Tuesday that a political re-alignment was possible after the Lok Sabha elections.

“As the fronts led by the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party will not get a clear majority, the third alternative will come out strongly and clearly,” he told journalists.

Mr. Karat was confident that the parties opposed to the Congress and the BJP would come together in the event of a post-poll realignment.

On how far the CPI(M) had progressed since the pledge taken during the party’s national Congress here in March-April last year that it would block the BJP’s path to power, he said: “When we took the pledge, it was only the BJP that we were fighting. A lot of developments took place subsequently and we added the Congress also to the list. Now, we go to the Lok Sabha elections fighting both the Congress and the BJP.”

On speculation over the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam moving closer to the Congress with its “advice” to the latter to sever ties with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Mr. Karat said it would be better to wait till the elections than speculate now.

“The DMK is now part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government and both the parties are allies in the State. Let us see what happens.”

As for the CPI(M), he said it was working on forming an alternative to the Congress and the BJP fronts and it included the AIADMK. “We are confident of forming an effective alternative.”

Sri Lanka issue

Mr. Karat called for an immediate halt to the war in Sri Lanka so that the civilians trapped in the war zone could be shifted to safety.

“We are concerned over the ongoing hostilities in Sri Lanka. I am not talking about a ceasefire. But, at least the fighting should be stopped to shift the civilians out. There is already an appeal by international groups for a ‘stop fighting period,’ but it has not been accepted. Now, the Indian government should take efforts to have the fighting halted. Along with the United Nations and international agencies, it should put pressure on Sri Lanka for this.”

On its part, the Sri Lankan government should immediately come out with a political solution that would provide autonomy in the northern and eastern provinces.

Mr. Karat demanded sector-specific stimulus package for industry to help it overcome the impact of the global meltdown.

“What is being given now is inadequate as it will help bail out only the export-oriented units.”

Separate packages must be evolved for textiles, leather, hosiery and the diamond and gem industries. The Centre should also ensure that no jobs were lost in any sector.

Reiterating his party’s demand that the government ask the banks in Switzerland to divulge the details of accounts held by Indians, he said: “We want the government to get back the money taken out illegally from the country, given the present situation it is facing lack of resources.”

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