The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Old foes in Basu speech to mark Russia revolt

Krishnagar (Nadia), Nov. 10: Jyoti Basu, one of the the architects of the off-now-on-now third front, today charged the Congress with failure to oppose the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s “anti-people” economic policies.

At a rally organised here on the occasion of the anniversary of Russian Revolution, Basu, who hopes to hitch the front to the Congress, also accused Sonia Gandhi’s party of failure to resist the BJP’s “ communal politics.”

“This is rather unfortunate,” he said, “because the Congress, as we see it, is still a secular political outfit that can ably constitute an alternative to the anti-people BJP.”

Touching on his recent audience with the Congress president and Manmohan Singh — the former Union finance minister who launched the country’s liberalisation policy in 1991 — Basu said he has asked both to introspect when issues of open market economy are deliberated upon.

Basu also launched the customary attack on Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. “Mamata is absolutely bankrupt” so far as a viable agenda of good governance is concerned. Her party can never put forward a feasible political alternative to the Left Front’s public policy prescriptions, he said.

“We have to educate people better so that their political awareness is promoted and they are better able to choose between pro-people and anti-people parties. We have to serve the people better and safeguard their interests,” he added.

Basu stressed that the CPM will have to “win back” the people who still support Trinamul.

“Mamata was so confident of winning the last Assembly elections that she even showed the victory sign after the conclusion of polls. She is so arrogant and politically short-sighted that she also declared her future Cabinet. But, the people of Bengal have given her a befitting reply,” Basu said.

The veteran leader also came down heavily on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, accusing him of keeping “double standards”.

“He (Vajpayee) is full of double standards. When the Gujarat riots began, Vajpayee had said in Delhi that Narendra Modi is a good man. But, during his visit to Gujarat, the Prime Minister said how could he show his face to the entire world.”

Basu cautioned against blindly following the economic proposals of the World Bank and the IMF. “I will have no problem in accepting some of the constructive economic proposals put forward by the World Bank and IMF but I do have strong reservations against implementing such liberal policies blindly. The Centre is exactly doing that.”

In his characteristic staccato tone, Basu said: “The recent UN Human Development Report says following such liberal policies blindly may lead to disastrous consequences as is evident in the south-east Asian countries.”

Basu pointed out that the US economy was in no better shape. “The continuation of the World Bank-IMF policies in America have led to increase in unemployment. The rich have become richer and the poor poorer,” he said.

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