The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Advani bites barking Left

New Delhi, May 18: BJP president L.K. Advani today warned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that his “dependence” on the Left will be a hindrance to achieving double-digit growth.

The United Progressive Alliance government completes a year in office on Sunday and the Left, which supports the coalition from outside, has criticised its performance. Advani saw a window of opening in the apparent differences between the two to embarrass Singh.

At the annual session and national conference of the Confederation of Indian Industry, he said: “In national interest, I wish to caution the Prime Minister that your dependence on communist support will prove to be a liability for anything good you may wish to do.”

Advani, who has missed no opportunity to belittle Singh, calling him the “weakest PM” and “invisible”, trained his firepower on the Left parties today. He accused them of being hypocritical and vindictive.

If India is to achieve “double-digit inclusive growth”, the “ideological and political influence” wielded by the Left must be “marginalised”, the BJP leader said.

Advani questioned the Left’s willingness to endorse China’s pursuit of economic reforms while advocating a different line for India.

“It is okay if China becomes a nuclear weapons state but India must not. It is okay if the West Bengal chief minister can advocate economic reforms in Calcutta, but the party must oppose the same reforms in Delhi irrespective of whether the NDA or UPA is in power at the Centre,” he said. Whatever was opposed by the Left proved to be a “correct and beneficial” decision, Advani said.

“They opposed the introduction of computers in banks and government offices which has led to greater efficiency. They opposed the entry of private airlines which has now led to a boom in civil aviation. They opposed the entry of the private sector in telecom which has led to a telecom revolution in India.”

Despite the BJP’s record of non-cooperation with the UPA in Parliament ' the party boycotted most of the budget session ' in the presence of the captains of industry, Advani promised to support the government on any reform essential for the country’s progress.

The BJP president also attacked the Left on its alleged abetment of the “policy of vendetta” being pursued by the government.

“What I am particularly concerned about is that political liberalism is now leading the government to a policy of vindictiveness,” Advani said, citing the probe into the sale of Centaur Hotels as an example.

The probe, Advani claimed, was “mooted most vocally by the communists to malign Arun Shourie” (the former disinvestment minister). The reason, he added, was that Shourie was among the “few intellectuals in India” to “unmask the long history of communist betrayals with such scholarship and firepower”.

Warning the Prime Minister not to “proceed in this path of vendetta”, Advani said: “The barking communists may not bite but the action they and some others are pressurising you to take will certainly bite you.”

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