| Pleased as punch: Sonia at the rally. (PTI)
New Delhi, May 14: Sonia Gandhi today told party workers she was satisfied with the UPA government’s performance in the past year, but chief ally CPM began its two-day politburo meeting on a critical note.
“There are some issues we are happy with and some that we are not,” said former Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu.
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee spoke in general terms. “We are discussing the government’s performance in the politburo meeting. This is a very serious question. We cannot give an answer now,” the chief minister said.
Sonia, however, told a rally in Haryana that the Manmohan Singh government has functioned well despite the constraints of a coalition ministry.
“We are not happy with the performance of the government. There are major issues that have not been taken care of,” said politburo member M.K. Pandhe.
The party believes, though, that the UPA has made progress in Indo-Pak and Indo-China relations. “At the same time, it has struck a strategic alliance with the US and resumed arms supply to Nepal,” said a politburo member.
The party is cut up with the Centre for pushing through its policies even in the face of the Left’s opposition. The contentious policies include raising the FDI limit in telecom, restructuring the banking sector and proposing the pension regulatory authority bill.
The Left had also wanted the government to bring in the bills on national employment guarantee and tribals’ land rights in forests in the budget session.
“It, however, is not that we have not managed to get anything. For instance, we got the government to drop the anti-worker clause from the special economic zone bill,” said a politburo member.
The politburo meeting began this morning without former general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet, who has undergone surgery at a Noida hospital. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spent 30 minutes with the Marxist leader at the hospital this morning. On his arrival at Noida, Singh was greeted by Uttar Pradesh basic education minister K.P. Singh.
Protocol demanded that the chief minister receive the Prime Minister, but due to a jinx attached with Noida, no Uttar Pradesh chief minister visits the city for fear of losing his chair.
The Bengal chief minister met the Prime Minister for 15 minutes at his residence this evening. Bhattacharjee refused to reveal details of the meeting.