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Tuesday, July 31, 2001

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'Third front is the need of the hour'

By Our Staff reporter

BANGALORE, JULY 30. The former Prime Minister, Mr. Chandra Shekhar, today said a ``third front'' advocating policies as an alternative to liberalisation and globalisation was the need of the hour.

``Liberalisation will only spell disaster to the country. It has happened in other countries and the same will repeat here. So a `third front' that will not pursue the same policies is necessary,'' he said at a `meet the press' programme organised by the Bangalore Press Club and the Karnataka Union of Working Journalists here.

Criticising the policies of the National Democratic Alliance Government, he said: ``In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi launched the `Quit India' movement. But now, it is very shocking that we are inviting multi-national companies (MNCs) to invest in India.''

``The MNCs will only exploit our society and increase corruption. Several small-scale units are being declared as `sick' and are closed. The public sector undertakings are being sold in the name of disinvestment. India is the only country which has an exclusive department headed by a minister to sell our resources. I have no other option than to use my right to say `no' against such policies,'' he said.

The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee's invitation to the Pakistan President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, for talks was an ``ill-thought'' one. Only a few months ago, he had announced that India would not invite Gen. Musharraf as he was not an ``elected President''. ``It is very sad that the same General was invited owing to pressure from foreign powers,'' Mr. Chandra Shekhar said.

``The Agra summit was not planned properly. It neither had an agenda nor was any groundwork done before the summit. And the results are before us,'' he added.

The former Prime Minister expressed shock and grief over the assassination of the Samajwadi Party MP, Phoolan Devi, and termed it a ``sad and tragic incident.''

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