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Sonia, Rahul have discovered MNREGA graft only now: Bardhan

Staff Reporter
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Budget has no meaning these days…, says the CPI leader

(From left) Communist Party of India (Marxist) central committee member Mohammad Salim, CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation general secretary Deepankar Bhattacharya and CPI leader A.B. Bardhan share a laugh in Patna on Sunday at the a Left parties’ convention ahead of the nationwide trade union strike on February 20 and 21.— Photo: Ranjeet Kumar
(From left) Communist Party of India (Marxist) central committee member Mohammad Salim, CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation general secretary Deepankar Bhattacharya and CPI leader A.B. Bardhan share a laugh in Patna on Sunday at the a Left parties’ convention ahead of the nationwide trade union strike on February 20 and 21.— Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader A.B. Bardhan said here on Sunday that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi discovered corruption and inflation recently, a fact the people already knew for long.

“Some have discovered inflation and corruption today. Sonia and Rahul have said there is corruption in MNREGA [Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act]. We have always said there was massive corruption in the implementation of the scheme. The press too has carried it after they said it,” Mr. Bardhan said here at a Left parties’ convention ahead of the nationwide trade union strike on February 20 and 21.

He called for a Bihar bandh on these two days to oppose the United Progressive Alliance’s policies on a host of issues, more prominently Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail and the recent hike in diesel prices.

“The budget has no meaning these days. Even before it is announced, railway fares and diesel prices have been hiked. The gradual increase of 50 paise per month means by the time of 2014 polls, the price will have been hiked by Rs.8 without the people realising it. These are the government’s tactics to fool people. Once the diesel costs go up, bus fare will follow suit. Farmers will find it difficult to use diesel-powered pump sets. Prices of essential commodities, mainly food items have risen,” he said.

Mr. Bardhan said the CPI was did not agree with the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam’s position on

FDI. “They are together with the Congress on this. The media too has been “spreading the lie” that FDI will increase employment and benefit farmers,” he added

He criticised the Bihar Government for remaining silent on police atrocities. “The Nitish Kumar government is running on the support of the bureaucracy and the police. There is police raj.”

On the D. Bandyopadhyay Committee recommendations, the CPI leader said: “The Bihar Chief Minister said they can’t be implemented. Then why did he set up the committee? The intention was merely to fool the people.”

Mr. Bardhan said the whole country was opposing inflation, FDI in retail and demanding pension and land reforms. He urged shopkeepers to shut shop to oppose FDI.

CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation general secretary Deepankar Bhattacharya said there was an awakening in the country after the December 16 gang-rape in Delhi, but the government was evading implementation of the Justice Verma panel recommendations.

The 2014 elections was being misrepresented as a contest between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Gandhi, when it is really a fight “to reverse the exploitative policies of the last 20 years.”

CPI(Marxist) central committee member Mohammad Salim said foreign companies were pumping money to manipulate people’s opinion during elections. A large section of children were malnourished and expectant mothers anaemic.

“Till we don’t have rights, we cannot be a great nation by buying foreign goods,” he said.

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