India Politics
PM not up to expectations, support to be reviewed: CPI
May 6, 2007 - 10:44:31 AM

New Delhi, May 6 - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not measured up to the expectations of the Left parties, which would 'seriously consider' the question of supporting his government after the presidential elections, said Communist Party of India - general secretary A.B. Bardhan.

He stressed that the Left parties, which support the United Progressive Alliance - government from outside, had not been happy with its economic policies.

'As the prime minister of the UPA government, which we support from outside and of which we have expectations, he - has not measured up to those expectations,' Bardhan said in an interview to Karan Thapar for the programme 'Devil's Advocate' that is scheduled to be aired at 8.30 p.m. Sunday on CNN-IBN.

'He - is very much part of the economic policies that are being carried out. I don't absolve him at all,' the veteran CPI leader said.

Claiming that his party was 'extremely serious' about withdrawing support to the Congress-led government, Bardhan said: 'It is a serious concern because of the way things are going. It is not just a threat... in fact the party is pushing me.'

Bardhan said the Left partners would meet after the Uttar Pradesh elections and the presidential elections to consider withdrawing support.

Interestingly, Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist - that leads the Left Front, had recently said that it would not pull down the Manmohan Singh government.

The CPI leader pointed out that the non-performance of the Congress-led government was benefiting the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party -.

Bardhan did not mince words to express the Left parties' displeasure over Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's economic policies.

'I am not prepared to sit in a meeting and hear Chidambaram lecturing to me what the benefits to the country will be if the pension funds are put in place,' he said referring to the Left's objections to the proposed Pension Bill.

'It is not worthwhile just to hear these lectures. We know economics just as much he does. If he has certain policies or viewpoints he wants to push through, he is welcome to push them through but not with our support obviously,' Bardhan remarked.

But he maintained that Chidambaram was a 'likeable man' personally.

The CPI leader also clarified that the Left would not support President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for a second term or Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for the post of president. Kalam's term ends in June.

Bardhan, however, said he would welcome Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee as president, but would not propose his name for the post.

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