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Left joins chorus

Left joins chorus

Author: Pioneer News Service
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 27, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/172405/Left-joins-chorus.html

PM should be from Lok Sabha

In a bid to further undermine Manmohan Singh's prospects as the next Prime Minister, the Left has said it wants a Lok Sabha member at the top position. The BJP too had recently taken a similar stand, going to the extent of promising a constitutional amendment that made it mandatory for the Prime Minister to be a member of the lower House. And, even as the Left launched its attack, the BJP renewed its offensive on the "weak Prime Minister".

The new front opened by the Left against the Prime Minister indicates the former ally's determination to torpedo Singh's chances, although the Congress has so far resolutely stood by him.

Taking a dig at Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha member, CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat told TV news channel News-24 that post-election the Left parties would back a Lok Sabha member for the post of Prime Minister.

Ruling himself out of the prime ministerial race, Karat said, "The right candidate will be decided if the Third Front was in a position to form the next Government and the Congress should support it the way we did in 2004."

Directly referring to Singh, the Left leader remarked, "We have seen Rajya Sabha members becoming Prime Ministers. This time, we will definitely work towards making a Lok Sabha leader the country's next Prime Minister."

He said there was no prime ministerial candidate from the Left, as of now, and even a Third Front candidate will be decided once the election results are out.

"There is no prime ministerial candidate from the Left. At least, we are not projecting anyone now. It might be considered, if after poll, other parties suggest a name," he said.

Refusing to be drawn into a 'Mayawati versus Jayalalithaa' debate, Karat said the AIADMK leader had not yet indicated her inclination for the PM's post.

"The BSP is the only party which has projected its leader for the PM's job. All Third Front leaders, including Chandrababu Naidu and HD Deve Gowda, are clear on this issue. Jayalalithaa has also not given any such indication," he said.

Meanwhile, continuing its tirade against Singh, the BJP on Sunday targeted the Prime Minister, saying he did not have "leadership quality".

Speaking at a function organised by 'Friends of BJP' in Mumbai, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, "We don't have a quality leadership. No decisions were taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his term."

"He did not want to take any decision because he thought it would hurt a vote bank. Therefore, his leadership is weak," he said.

"The Prime Minister is not a good politician. He doesn't have to contest an election, that is why he is doing well," Jaitley added, sarcastically.

Claiming that the Congress was sending the message that India was soft on terror, he said that it was "a clever vote-bank strategy".

Stressing the need to have laws like TADA and POTA, Jaitley said terrorists could not be arrested without a stringent Act in place. Replying to Congress leaders' taunt that during the NDA regime there were several terror attacks, Jaitley said in the Parliament and Akshardham attacks terrorists were killed in half an hour.

"Trials were carried out and they were punished. Sixty seven cities were attacked during UPA regime," he said.

"Taliban is at our doorstep, it has occupied Swat valley in Pakistan. It is not an organisation but an idea which can spread," Jaitley said.

NDA prime ministerial candidate LK Advani commented at Dharwad in Karnataka on Saturday night that the "reputation" of the Prime Minister's post had "deteriorated" in recent years and claimed half a dozen aspirants for the coveted office have emerged from the ruling UPA itself during the current Lok Sabha poll.

Addressing an election rally, Advani also continued his attack on the Prime Minister with whom he had a wordy duel after repeatedly taunting him as the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen.

"The president of the Congress has become more powerful than the Prime Minister as 10, Janapath (where Sonia Gandhi resides) has been more powerful and important than 7, Race Course road (PM's residence)," Advani said.

The Government has suffered its consequences in the last five years, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate said, adding that similar situation should not continue and appealed to the voters to bring back the NDA to power.

Speaking in Ahmedabad, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra also took swipes at Singh. "When we are talking about devaluation of Prime Minister's office, three things are important: Does the country want elected or nominated Prime Minister? Should the Prime Minister come through democratic process or he should be selected by a dynasty? Elected Prime Minister has faith that people are with him, while a nominated Prime Minister has to remain dependent on a family. People of the country have to decide on these things and whether they want a strong PM or not," he said.

Adding to the demand for the Prime Minister to come from the Lok Sabha, noted Yoga expert Baba Ramdev said on Sunday: "It is high time now and we should be awakened. We should be given the right to elect our Prime Minister. He should not be a Rajya Sabha nominee.'' He was addressing a seminar in the national Capital which was attended among others by JNU Vice-Chancellor BB Bhattacharya, former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Rajendra Sachar, eminent social worker Anna Hazare and former Chief Election Commissioner GVG Krishnamurthy.

The Yoga guru expressed concern over the falling voting percentage and said it was a result of the gradually declining faith of the people in the present political system and supported "discouraging dynasty politics'' and "bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks".

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