Three years of UPA rule a mixed bag: Left


New Delhi : Indian communists who provide key support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh say the government's three years have been a mixed bag and want a "course correction to avoid further disillusionment" among people.

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While the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) praise the Congress-led government for its welfare schemes for the poor, their own smaller Left allies are more critical.

"The government's performance has been a mixed bag," CPI deputy leader D. Raja told IANS.

He said there were some pro-people legislations like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the Right To Information Act, and the government had stopped the privatization of profit-making public sector units.

CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had come up with a legislation to provide tribal people the right to secure forest produce.

But the government had miles to go, he said.

"Farmers are not getting their dues. The UPA government's promise that every village would have a school is still far from implementation."

Raja agreed that the Left's strongest disagreements with the government were over the latter's economic policies.

"The economic polices are anti-poor and favour the rich and business class in and outside the country. The Public Distribution System is not streamlined, procurement of foodgrain from farmers has not been satisfactory, and farmers' discontent is unabated," Raja said.

The Left leaders pointed out that the 9.2 percent growth the UPA government had been talking about benefited only 10-15 percent people.

"The promises by both the prime minister and the finance minister that the benefits would trickle down has not happened even after three years," Raja said.

Forward Bloc leader Debabrata Bishwas has no good word for the government. "This government's performance has been dismal," he insisted.

"Its policies have not been catering to all sections of the society. As a result, the majority is dissatisfied and disillusioned. Whatever we envisaged in the Common Minimum Programme is still untouched.

"The government's much talked about economic reforms have led to farmers' suicides. The net results of the neo-liberal policies have led to inflation and rising prices of essential commodities."

Biswas was not even ready to admit that the Congress-led government had faired better in maintaining communal peace.

"Communal tensions are there. The Congress has been joining hands with casteist and religious groups for electoral purposes," he said.

The Forward Bloc leader wants the Left to consider a "serious strategy" that forces the government to undertake a course correction "to avoid disappointment and disillusionment among people".