Yechuri seeks probe into FFW `irregularities'

ANANTAPUR NOV. 10. The CPI(M) Politburo member, Sitaram Yechuri, has sought a thorough probe into the alleged irregularities in the utilisation of rice under Food-for-Work programme in the State. He felt that the programme had failed to benefit the needy.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr. Yechuri said the Centre had failed to implement the programme all over the country, at least in all drought-stricken areas. He, however, supported the cause of Andhra Pradesh being largest drawer of rice under the scheme, stating that it was the largest contributor to the FCI.

He said a comprehensive enquiry into the works taken up under FFW would reveal whether the rice meant for people below the poverty line was getting recycled in the open market. He said free distribution of foodgrains stored in godowns to the poor would at least prevent starvation deaths.

Asked whether there was any change in his party's stance towards the TDP, he observed that N. Chandrababu Naidu was still a trusted ally of the BJP and he was "behaving more loyal than the king.'' He ruled out the possibility of reconsidering the CPI(M) stand as Mr. Naidu was "protecting the communal parties.''

The CPI(M) was now opposing the TDP not only for its support of communal parties but also for its economic policies. "Mr. Naidu had mortgaged Andhra Pradesh to such an extent that clearing its debts was not possible even all of its assets were disposed of,'' Mr. Yechuri argued.

On the national politics, he ruled out any alliance with the Congress but said it would be an adjustment to defeat communal forces. He termed the George Fernandes criticism of disinvestment of PSUs a drama and it was an effort to hoodwink people to prevent the discontent among them crystallising into political opposition.

He also criticised the foreign policy of the BJP-led NDA Government and said it was a complete surrender to the US interests. He sought the Government to explain the talk of the Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, of improving ties with ASEAN countries bypassing China. Ties with China were very crucial for the development of India, he said.

Mr. Yechuri demanded that the Election Commission bar politicians resorting to inflammatory speeches from contesting elections.

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