Sunday, Apr 21, 2002
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By G. Satyamurty
The CPI(M) general secretary, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, made it clear at the party's State conference here in February that it would maintain "equidistance" from both the "communal" BJP and the Congress, which pursued "anti-people" economic policies.
But the two-day State CPI council meeting, which concluded here, authorised the executive committee to "hold talks with the CPI(M) and other secular, democratic parties in Tamil Nadu" on the byelections. This exercise was aimed at "defeating the communal BJP-DMK alliance and the AIADMK, which has been initiating various anti-people measures", said a political resolution.
Briefing presspersons, the State secretary, R. Nallakkannu, said he did not consider the DMK, the MDMK or the PMK "communal". However, as "all of them are in the National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP, we cannot have any truck with them". Also "our basic objective is that the BJP should not be strengthened. As the DMK is acting as its crutches (`oonru kol'), we are against it". He branded NDA allies in Tamil Nadu "opportunistic".
Similarly, his party would not consider rebuilding ties with the AIADMK because of its "anti-people" policies. Moreover, it was getting "closer to the BJP on many issues''.
Asked which parties the CPI would initiate talks with for electoral alliance, Mr. Nallakannu said the Congress was one, apart from the CPI(M), the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) and the Indian National League. Informal talks had begun with the CPI(M).
However, when a reporter asked whether the CPI opening a channel with the Congress would not militate against the CPI(M) stand, all that Mr. Nallakannu would say was that his party's political resolution considered the Congress "secular". Hence, there was nothing wrong in making it an ally.
To a question whether his party would contest from any of the three constituencies, he conceded that it was not strong in Vaniyambadi. "However, there is a possibility of our contesting from Saidapet and Acharapakkam. Of course, this could be decided only after consultations with other parties."
(To a query, the TNCC chief, E.V.K.S. Elangovan, said in Tiruchi that the Congress would finalise its stand on the Assembly byelections after consulting the Left parties, the TMC, the Congress Jananayaka Peravai and Dalit parties.)
`Step up allocation for local bodies'
In another resolution, the CPI meeting demanded that at least 30 per cent of the total revenue of the State be allocated to the local bodies, up from the "meagre" eight per cent provided now, so that they could meet the basic needs of the people.
Mr. Nallakkannu pointed out that West Bengal allotted 50 per cent of the total revenue to its civic bodies and Kerala 39. He also criticised the delay in devolution of funds by the Centre to the local bodies.
The resolution lamented that the activities of the State Government had been "designed" in such way that they hampered the functioning of the non-AIADMK chiefs of local bodies. For instance, in the Chennai and Madurai corporations, bureaucrats such as the Commissioner "impeded" the functioning of the Mayor. This resulted in a row between the elected representatives and the officials, culminating in failure to redress people's grievances. "The administration of the civic bodies should be as per the law and should not become a reflection of any political bias".
The council pleaded for early solution to the Cauvery imbroglio. It appealed to the parties, especially the AIADMK and the DMK, to bury their differences and strive unitedly for getting the Tribunal interim award of 205 tmcft implemented. Besides, as suggested even by the National River Water Commission, efforts should be initiated to link the southern rivers without further delay. The party would collect one crore signatures to press the Centre and the campaign would be launched in Madurai on May 11.
Alleging police harassment of the innocent public at Thingalure in Erode district following an attack on the police station, a resolution demanded an inquiry by a High Court judge. Besides, the cases registered against the public should be dropped.
In other demands, the council said the Centre should give up its "anti-labour" policies and privatisation, extend protection to cotton mills, and withdraw the excise duty on hank yarn.
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