Cong, BJP on same page on coal issue: Karat

prakash karatTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Lashing out at the Congress and BJP, CPI-M today said both stood for privatizing the coal sector despite their stand-off on the CAG report which has resulted in disruption of Parliamentary proceedings.

“The basic issue has not come out…Both the Congress and BJP want the coal sector to be privatized…If we (Left) were allowed to speak (in Parliament), we would have brought out this issue,”, CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat said, inaugurating a seminar organized by the party as part of the birth centenary of veteran Communist leader P Sundarayya here.

When in power, BJP as well as the Congress had sought to privatize the coal sector by seeking to sabotage legislation through which coal mining was nationalized by the Indira Gandhi Government in 1973.These attempts had been thwarted by stiff resistance put up by the Left and trade unions, he said.

However, there had been attempts to dilute this policy through the backdoor method of captive mining route, he said.

The fight between the BJP and UPA government was that each had not done enough to privatize the coal sector, whether through allocation or by competitive bidding, he said.

Karat said handing over natural assets – whether spectrum, coal or natural gas – to the private sector was the fountainhead of all corruption. -PTI

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