(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 27 , 2008
BASUDEV ACHARIA'S SPEECH IN LOK SABHA
“The Govt Is Implementing
CMP Of Bush Administration”
[Excerpts from the speech delivered by CPI(M) leader in Lok Sabha, Basudev Acharia in the Lok Sabha while participating in the discussion on the confidence motion on July 22, 2008]
I rise to oppose the motion of confidence moved by the prime minister. Yesterday, when the leader of the House, Pranab Mukherjee spoke, he gave some figures. But those figures were not correct. He said that on the day when the Left parties withdrew support, on that day when the Samajwadi Party extended its support to the government, the UPA had the majority and that the number was 276. The UPA has 220 members.
If we add the members of the Samajwadi Party, it comes to 265. So, the government is still in minority. It is a minority government. I would like to know from the government whether a minority government can go ahead with the deal.
While intervening, the finance minister P Chidambaram said that by withdrawing support and by opposing the confidence motion, we are joining hands with the BJP. In fact, when we met the president, when we submitted the list and the letter, we demanded that the government should go in for confidence motion.
Let me remind P Chidambaram. He was in the House, in the Opposition, in 1990 when there was a National Front government headed by Vishwanath Pratap Singh. L K Advani started his rath yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya. Throughout the country, a communal atmosphere was created and hundreds of people were killed. Communal riots took place in many parts of the country. When Advani was arrested in Bihar and he was not allowed to proceed to Ayodhya, the BJP withdrew support.
When V P Singh was the prime minister, he was fighting against communalism. He did not surrender at that point of time. But the Congress Party joined hands with the BJP and toppled that government and thus destabilisation was created. Sir, this was repeated again in 1997 when H D Deve Gowda was the prime minister and the government was destabilised by the Congress. Subsequently, when I K Gujral became the prime minister, this same Congress joined hands with the BJP to topple the I K Gujral government. And today they are saying that we are joining hands with the BJP to vote against the confidence motion.
In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the mandate of the people was not in favour of any one political combination. But the people of this country had given a clear mandate and that mandate was for the change of policy, change of outlook and change of attitude. The Left parties supported this government because of our commitment to fight back the communal forces, to protect and strengthen India’s secular heritage, to defend the peoples’ unity and rights of the minorities which have been under attack and severely eroded during the BJP-led NDA regime.
We will not forget what happened in Gujarat in 2002. We supported this UPA government because of our deep concern against `Shining India’ economic policies. Now they are again referring to `feel good factor’ and `Shining India’ growth rate which was there in 2003 and 2004.
The BJP using such slogans dissolved the Lok Sabha and elections were held. But the people of this country voted them out. The Congress government is again following the same path which the BJP-led NDA government was following. The 'Shining India' economic policies were destroying the lives and livelihood of the people. That is why, we insisted on a Common Minimum Programme to bring relief to the people. The major issues of the CMP are yet to be implemented. But today instead of the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA, it is the Common Minimum Programme of the Bush administration to bring India into a strategic embrace that the government is implementing. You cannot fight the communal forces by compromising the nation’s sovereignty. You cannot fight the communal forces by following pro-imperialistic economic policies which have led to huge price rise and widespread disparities among the people.
The finance minister very eloquently gave the figures in regard to growth in various sectors – in agriculture, food production, production of pulses and others. There is GDP growth but he has not mentioned about the condition of the people which is deteriorating. When there is growth to the extent of 9 per cent, what is the government claiming in its own report? It is not our report. It is the report of the committee constituted by this government. The committee, in its last report submitted to the government, has stated that 77 per cent of the population of our country is surviving on only Rs 20 per day. We have 46 billionaires. One year back, there were 26 billionaires. Within one year, the number of billionaires increased to 46 whereas 77 per cent of the population is to depend on only Rs 20 per day. This is not our report but the report of the committee constituted by the UPA government.
Today, inflation has already touched 12 per cent. Prices of almost all the essential commodities are rising. The government is not in a position to contain and control the prices. The livelihood of the people of our country has become miserable. The family budget has increased. There has not been any increase in their wages and earnings whereas there has been steep increase in the prices of almost all the essential commodities.
We have made several suggestions. I would like the prime minister to place before this House the facts. When there was the Left-UPA coordination committee which continued for two years, we made a number of suggestions to contain the price rise. We made four suggestions. One was the strengthening and universalisation of the Public Distribution System. That has not been done. The forward and futures trading which was introduced by the NDA government in all commodities has not been withdrawn. The prices of petroleum products have been increased for several times instead of reducing the duty and cess, abolishing import parity which was introduced by the earlier government. The government has failed to take concrete measures to control and contain the prices of essential commodities. Farmers are committing suicide and it is still continuing. The crisis for agricultural sector is accentuating. No concrete measures have been taken by this government to ameliorate the sufferings of the poor people of this country. Why have we withdrawn the support from this government?
The government was formed on the basis of the Common Minimum Programme. What we said was that we did not want anything from this government. We did not even join them. We had extended our outside support, but what we were demanding was that the UPA government should concentrate on implementation of pro-poor programmes promised in the Common Minimum Programme. In regard to foreign policy, nowhere it has been stated that we will have strategic relations with the United States of America. We are not anti-America. We are not blindly opposing America. We want good relations with America, but there is a difference between good relations and strategic relations. When NDA was in power, they diluted our non-alignment policy and it was seen when Iraq was attacked. I had been to Iraq 15 days before it was attacked. I was there for seven days. When we demanded in this very House to pass a resolution to condemn the attack on Iraq, we had to stall this House at least for three days. Then the resolution was adopted, for the first time, in language of Hindi, and not in English. The word ‘condemn’ was not used, but the word ‘deplore’ was used.
When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister of India, he agreed to send troops to Iraq. At that time, the Congress Party and the Left parties were in the opposition and because of our opposition he could not send troops to Iraq. So, we had the apprehension. Although strategic relation was mentioned in the Draft Common Minimum Programme, we did not agree to it and then it was removed from it.
It was stated in the Common Minimum Programme: “The UPA government will pursue an independent foreign policy, keeping in mind its past traditions. This policy will seek to promote multi-polarity in world relations and oppose all attempts at unilateralism.
The UPA government will give the highest priority to building closer political, economic and other ties…”
The phrase ‘strategic relation’ has been mentioned nowhere in the Common Minimum Programme.
When the joint statement of Dr Manmohan Singh and George Bush was made, the dialogue process started and there was an attempt to have strategic relations with the United States of America. At that time, what did we find? We found that in the case of Iran, not once, but twice the representative of the government of India, at the behest of USA, voted against Iran. Our representative supported the resolution moved by the US. At that time, there was a widespread protest throughout the country in Mumbai, Lucknow and other places. In Lucknow, a huge rally was organised in which the Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav and leaders of Left parties participated and addressed the rally. I have the copy of the fiery speech of Mulayam Singh Yadav. What has happened to this party now?
When this nuclear deal was conceived and the draft of the Hyde Act was prepared, we expressed nine concerns. It is a fact that while replying to the debate in the Rajya Sabha – there was a debate in this House also on a subsequent date – the prime minister gave an assurance that all our concerns would be properly addressed. The Hyde Act was subsequently enacted in December, 2006. What we found was that our hopes were belied.
The assurances went haywire. Then subsequently a mechanism was evolved. A joint committee was formed. What was the outcome of the joint committee? The resolution which was adopted in the first meeting of the Left-UPA joint committee was that the operationalisation of the deal would depend on the outcome of the findings of this committee. I would like to know from the prime minister whether the committee has come to any conclusion. How could the committee come to any conclusion? On November 16, 2007 there was a written understanding that the government would go to the IAEA to start negotiations for the Safeguards Agreement and it was assured that the government would proceed further only after the text of the agreement is placed before the committee and if the committee agrees, then only the government would go to IAEA and then NSG.
When the committee met in the month of June 2008, the agreement was not shown to the committee. Without showing the text of the agreement, how can the committee come to any conclusion? The committee was told that it was a classified document. The same day, from the IAEA, it was stated that there was no restriction and the government can circulate this text.
On July 8, in a press conference, the external affairs minister stated that the Government would not go to IAEA before it secures the vote of confidence. The day he made the statement, the government went to the IAEA at the reported instance of the prime minister. If this is not betrayal, then what is it? This is not only a betrayal and insult to us but also to the nation.
What is being said here? Lalu Prasad Yadav has said this deal is necessary for electricity. I want to ask him how much electricity will we get with this deal? Ram Gopal Yadav has said our nation has coal deposits for only next 30 years. It is wrong. We have 230 billion tonnes of proven deposits. And it will continue for the next 200 years.
The external affairs minister said in his speech yesterday that we will have a deficit of 4 lakh MW of electricity by 2030. How can this deficit of 4 lakh MW be reduced to 30,000 MW with only 40,000 MW of nuclear power generation possible by that time? Moreover, we will have to spend $200 billion.
What some members have said about our opposing the deal at the behest of China is a very serious thing. In fact, when China pressurised us to sign the NPT, to sign the CTBT, we had opposed it. Our Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), opposed it. We said that NPT and CTBT are discriminatory and we cannot agree to those treaties.