The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Singh not Left out

New Delhi, Dec. 18: The CPM has trained its guns on Manmohan Singh for the first time since the United Progressive Alliance government was formed seven months ago.

The latest issue of the party mouthpiece, People's Democracy, severely criticises a statement Singh made at an energy conference earlier this week on the need to rationalise subsidies.

'It needs to be mentioned that the promises in the CMP (common minimum programme) are not being churned out of charity or philanthropy,' the party says.

From all indications, the CPM has no intention of easing pressure on the Congress-led Centre to stick to the programme and implement it.

Former Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu and politburo member Sitaram Yechury met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at 10 Janpath this morning.

'It was a courtesy call. But we also asked Sonia Gandhi to implement the CMP as fast as possible. Six months have passed. We have to tell the people something,' Basu said at the end of the two-day politburo meeting here.

The CPM had till now kept the Prime Minister out of the range of its fire. Its top leaders had time and again praised him for practising 'coalition dharma' so well.

But he fell out of the party's favour with his views on subsidies. At the energy conference, Singh said subsidies should be given only on 'justifiable social, economic and political grounds'.

The CPM says: 'It is interesting to note that the Prime Minister has chosen to add political grounds as one of the factors for subsidies.'

'How often have we seen Congress governments in various states resorting to pre-election populism by announcing free power to the farmers, etc!' it adds.

The party had till now blamed finance minister P. Chidambaram for putting hurdles in the programme's implementation. 'We want the government to prioritise the CMP and implement it,' Yechury said after meeting Sonia.

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