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Jyoti Basu lashes out at UF govt. - The Times of India

Shikha Mukherjee ()
16 November 1997

Title: Jyoti Basu lashes out at UF govt.
Author: Shikha Mukherjee
Publication: The Times of India
Date: November 16, 1997

West Bengal chief minister and veteran Communist Party of India (CPM) leader Jyoti Basu on Saturday lashed out at the United Front government for non-performance".

Back from an arduous meeting of the CPM's politburo and central committee, Mr Basu used the general body of the Bengal National Chamber to launch a scathing attack on the UF, alleging that Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral and finance minister P. Chidambaram were "at the root of all failure".

The severity of Mr Basu's attack was an indication that the CPM is distancing itself from the UF, perhaps anticipating a political showdown in the near future. Mr Basu said the UF had gone back on its promise to implement the antipoverty Common Minimum Programme. The government had failed to fulfil any of the schemes under the CMP.

It may be recalled that the CPM and Mr Basu had laid emphasis on the CMP as the "action agenda" on the UF. Mr Basu had said a year ago that through the CMP the UF would be able to distinguish itself from earlier regimes, which would serve as an asset in any future election which the "third force" would contest.

Mr Basu said that despite the best efforts of the West Bengal government and the CPM to urge the Prime Minister and finance minister to implement the CMP, no action was taken, causing "great concern" to the CPM which was giving outside support to the United Front government.

The chief minister in his address at the Bengal National Chamber ignored the prepared text to launch his political salvo. For occasions such as speeches at chambers of commerce, the CM usually prepares the address well in advance on the basis of the speeches by office-bearers of the chamber.

About implementation of the fifth pay commission, Mr Basu said there would be severe repercussions as a result of the revision of 'Central staffers' pay. It would create disparities between Central and state, staff.

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