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CPI for non-Cong, non-BJP alternative

Hyderabad: CPI will try to bring together non-Congress, non-BJP parties as an alternative to the UPA and NDA on the basis of programme rather than stitch an alliance out of expediency, says the party`s new General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy. He also says that the Left parties will try to recapture dominance in its strongholds of West Bengal and Kerala to keep itself relevance in the national politics.

"Why we say programmatic alternative? NDA and UPA are similar in their policies. So, if we can mobilize some non-Congress, non-BJP parties…we want a clarity among the parties who would like to be in this alternative platform. That also we think that only by organizing big agitations on basic issues like price rise, SEZ policy etc. Then these forces who are anti-Congress, anti-BJP will have some sort of clarity about these policies," Reddy told PTI.

He said mere lip sympathy would not do and they should have the courage to take firm action against the corporate houses which is taking the lion`s share of the nation`s wealth. "On these issues, we think it (coming together) may be possible before 2014 or it can go beyond 2014. But we are clear that an alternative should be programme based," he said.

"All that we are asking these parties is to support the poorest sections. We are not asking them to accept socialism etc. To bring back black money, to have a strong Lokpal bill like that," he said. The merger of CPI and CPI(M) is not on the agenda now, though CPI favours re-unification of Left forces he added.

"In principle, CPI is for the reunification of Communist movement in India. This is a very delicate issue. Merger cannot come with the wish of one party. The other parties should also reciprocate positively. Right now, the other parties are not very enthusiastic of this. What we feel positive is that, earlier there used to be negative about the proposal," said Reddy, who succeeded A B Bardhan last month as CPI General Secretary.

He said he feels that the other Left parties were also thinking about this and whenever the time comes, whenever they feel the situation is ripe for such talks, "we will be prepared for it. "Right now, we are stressing on united activity of left parties. This will bring the leaders and cadre closer and ultimately may help in reunification of the left movement in India," Reddy said. The recently-concluded 21st Party Congress has given a three-fold task of consolidating the party base and expanding to new areas, strengthening left unity and bringing together the left, democratic forces, he said.

The party would endeavour to strengthen the organization by making the party machinery active, he said. Asked about the Left defeat in West Bengal and Kerala, two states where the Left parties have been traditionally strong, he hoped that through struggles on people`s issues they would be able to make their presence felt. Citing the example of the recent Uttar Pradesh elections, he said the CPI favoured proportional representation in government on the basis of vote percentage.

"For example, with 29 per cent vote, Samajwadi Party could get 225 seats in UP, whereas with less than 2. 50 per cent votes than SP, BSP could get only 80. This in no way reflects the reality. We want electoral reforms. Proportional representation should be there," he said. CPI planned a major debate on proportional representation with various political parties and others.

Slamming West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s decision to ban some newspapers from libraries and also remove chapters on impact of Karl Marx`s ideas from text books, he said it was an anti-democratic move. Replying to a query, he said the CPI favoured a strong Lokpal bill, a Judiciary Accountability bill and also bringing Army under the purview of Lokpal if any serious allegations of corruption surfaced.

"Army also, there should be internal arrangement. At the same time, if any serious allegations are there, it can go to the Lokpal," he said. Talking about the trial of riot cases in Gujarat, he felt that Chief Minister Narendra Modi did not get a clean chit and alleged that the investigators have failed to establish the link to prove his alleged involvement. Replying to a query on the protests over nuclear power plants, he said the CPI is not against nuclear power but wanted the people`s concerns to be addressed.

"On Kudankulam, what the government is doing a wrong thing. We are not against nuclear plants immediately. In the background of Fukushima tragedy, we want the entire thing to be re-discussed. There should be national debates. All cases in Kudankulam should be withdrawn and people should be taken into confidence.They should not rush to commission the units," he added.

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