New Delhi: Launching a frontal attack on the Manmohan Singh government, CPI(M) on Wednesday said it had no right to continue in office if it did not roll back its decisions like allowing FDI in retail and hiking diesel prices.

A day after Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TC) announced its decision to quit the UPA and the government over these issues, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said, "The Congress-led UPA government does not have the mandate or the right to push ahead with these policies.

"Unless the Manmohan Singh government rolls back these anti-people measures, it has no right to continue in office," he said, adding that the government did not have any mandate across the political spectrum, even from its alliance partners, on all these issues.

He said that eight parties, including four Left parties, Samajwadi Party, TDP, BJD and JD(S), have called for a nationwide protest day and strike on these and other issues. They were also supported by simultaneous strike calls by motor transport and traders' organisations.

Asked whether CPI(M) would move a no-confidence motion against the government, Karat said, "We will review and consult with other parties after tomorrow's protest action and then take a decision."

He indicated that there were several options, saying BJP has also demanded a special session and asked the government to seek a vote of confidence.

While the UPA government has been plunged into a crisis after the announcement by TMC withdrawing from the government and UPA, he said, "After TMC withdraws its Ministers on Friday, certain things will follow. So don't jump to conclusions.... We will take a decision in a few days."

The UPA-II government tried to bring FDI in retail last November but did not proceed due to this opposition and stated it would work for a consensus on the issue, Karat said.

"But there has been no change since then. In fact, more parties have come out against FDI in multi-brand retail. This means that today in Parliament a majority of parties are against opening of retail to FDI. So the government has no mandate or the right to proceed with it," he said.

He also recalled that in 2009, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce had unanimously recommended that retail should not be opened to FDI. "Not a single Congress member dissented on it."

The Congress manifesto "does not have a single word on this issue", while Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had also written to the Prime Minister to look into the implications of opening up retail to FDI, he said.

"Despite all this, the Prime Minister has gone ahead with the announcement. ... true to his character, the commitments he made to the United States, stand above the interests of the people of the country," the CPI(M) leader said, adding the Prime Minister "has been trying to bring in (US retail giant) Walmart since 2005 and we have been opposing it since then."

Asserting that FDI in retail, limiting the supply of cooking gas cylinders, hiking diesel prices and divesting profit-making PSUs were completely against the people's interests, Karat said none of these measures have the support of parties across the political spectrum.

"It is clear now with the stand taken by the allies of Congress in UPA a majority of the members of Parliament are against these policies. The Congress-led UPA government does not have the mandate or the right to push ahead with these policies," Karat said. Karat said CPI(M) would intensify the struggle against these measures to get them reversed and appealed to all parties who have come out against these policies to support the all-India protest action on Thursday.

Asked to comment on Mamata terming the Left protest call as "an eyewash", the CPI(M) leader said his party has been the "most consistent" on the FDI issue and displayed a 2006 note and letter to the Prime Minister opposing any such move.

"The UPA-I government did not proceed between 2005 and 2009 when we were supporting it from outside. Even today, I can say categorically that in West Bengal and Kerala, the parties that are opposed to us -- Mamata Banerjee and Congress -- also cannot take a stand favouring FDI in retail.

"That is the strength of CPI(M) and THE Left and the public opinion that we have built up on this issue," Karat said.


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