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Rahul As PM Candidate Prerogative of Cong: Karat

A day after RJD chief Lalu Prasad batted for Rahul Gandhi as the Congress prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections, the CPI(M) today said that it was the prerogative of the Congress to project their leader.

"I don't know why this question is being asked to the CPI(M). As far as who will be their leader, who will be their Prime Ministerial candidate, let them take a decision," CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash told a press conference here at the end of the party's central committee meeting.

"We can say something if necessary at an appropriate time about that. But it has nothing to do with us," he said.

"As far as our party's understanding and the political line decided in the last party congress, it has called for the defeat of the Congress and BJP," Karat said.

"It is very clear as far our party's position is concerned. It doesn't matter who will be the leader of the Congress party," Karat said.

Terming the Congress led UPA regime as the most corrupt government since independence, Karat slammed it for announcing deregulation of diesel and said it would have a disastrous effect on common man.

"This present government is not at all bothered about the common man. It is only bothered about the big corporate houses. This is the most corrupt government since independence," said Karat.

Yesterday, batting for the Congress General Secretary, Prasad had asked "What is wrong with Rahul Gandhi, tell me?"

Commenting on Lalu Prasad's comment yesterday that he did not foresee formation of a third front during the 2014 elections, Karat said "RJD has decided to go along with the Congress party in Bihar also. Probably he doesn't see the scope for formation of any other front now. We don't share his views.

"Our party will work for the strengthening of non Congress non-BJP forces in the country. But we are also not advocating a third front at present. We don't how it will take shape or in what form. Right now we are not in the business of forming a third front.

"We are now focusing on strengthening the Left and rally the democratic and secular forces. At the time of election we might have some understanding with some non Congress, secular parties. But we are not emphasizing on the projection of the front. So we are not talking about it. That stage is not finished," said Karat.

Slamming the union government for delaying the passage of the Lokpal Bill, Karat said, "The standing committee and other committees has come to a broad agreement about the main main features of the bill. Despite this the government didn't take the bill for adoption.

"It's agenda was different, it was more interested in passing the banking bill and other bills. So first step is to see that Lokpal Bill is adopted by the Parliament without any delay," Karat said.

On the issue of land acquisition, Karat maintained that the government has to play a role otherwise land sharks would have a free run.

"We had supported the provision of 80 per cent consent of landowners in case of land acquisition," Karat, adding the government must play a role in land acquisition because it will ensure protection from land sharks. "We are not in favour of leaving it to the market."

Karat also said that his party was not in favour of the SEZ policy in its present form.

"Acquisition of land for SEZ should not be exempted. There are lot of exemptions given for land acquisition for railways, mining. We are demanding that all these acquisitions should come under the purview of new land acquisition bill. We are not in favour of tax exemptions regarding SEZ," Karat said

Karat said his party would campaign nationwide against the UPA on food security, price rise and unemployment with jathas to propagate the party’s stand on major issues affecting the people and the alternative policies of the Left.

He said that five crore signatures would be collected on food security and for a universal public distribution system which would be submitted to the Prime Minister when the budget session of Parliament began in February.

The CPI(M) central committee also slammed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and spiritual leader Asaram Bapu for their controversial comments following the Delhi gangrape last month.

"The CPI(M) have already submitted a memorandum to the Verma committee suggesting various measures including life imprisonment for cases of rape and rigorous life imprisonment with no remission for cases of aggravated sexual assault like gangrape and sexual assaults on children," said a CPI(M) statement.

Taking note of the political situation in Jharkhand, the CPI(M) central committee demanded dissolution of the assembly and holding of fresh elections without delay.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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