The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Local & national menu for politburo

New Delhi, May 12: The day-long CPM politburo meeting here tomorrow will not only take stock of the election results, it will also discuss the strategy the party is to adopt on the Manmohan Singh government, especially its economic policies.

It appears the party will keep up its public rhetoric against reforms but at the same time negotiate its position on some of the issues, under pressure from a rejuvenated Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and for the sake of Bengal.

Politburo member Sitaram Yechury today identified five issues his party will take up with the Centre to begin with. The list includes agrarian distress, communal violence, airport privatisation, displacement of tribals and price rise.

“The government should modernise all airports other than Delhi and Mumbai through the Airports Authority of India,” he said.

A row over proposed increase in petroleum prices is also in the offing. “We know international oil prices have risen and the deficit needs to be covered. But the government should consider alternative policies suggested by us,” Yechury said. In private, however, leaders are resigned to a “moderate” increase.

Basudev Acharia, the CPM’s leader in the Lok Sabha, described the Left’s sweep in Bengal as a victory of its “policies” and, by extension, a “mandate against the policies of the UPA government”.

If this is one agenda of the politburo meeting, there is another still more dominant agenda. Bhattacharjee will now be the party’s mediator with 7 Race Course Road.

A senior CPM leader said the party “will consult Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee more” on policy matters and that he will also communicate directly with the Prime Minister.

“Individuals take advantage of particular historical situations. Buddhadeb has done that,” a senior leader said.

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