Reiterating that withdrawal of support from the UPA government was necessary, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat on Thursday opposed setting up of nuclear plants in the country before a review.
“We have seen what happened in Japan,” he said referring to the incidents at Fukushima in Japan. “We demand immediate stoppage of any new nuclear plant before a proper review is done,” Karat said.
“We will also have to look at how nuclear power plant projects are taking off. A fisherman died in Maharashtra while protesting. Local people have put up resistance against the project,” he said.
Environmentalists, local farmers and fishermen have been protesting for months over the proposed six-reactor nuclear power plant on the coastal plains of Jaitapur, 420 km south of Mumbai. A local fisherman was shot dead on Monday when protesters attacked the local police station.
Asked whether he regretted the decision to withdraw support from the UPA government, Karat said it was necessary. “Whether we could have withdrawn support even before that or not will be discussed in the party later on,” he said.
Although he defended the party's withdrawal of support from the UPA, Karat welcomed the step to bring veterans like Somnath Chatterjee and Ashoke Mitra in pre-poll campaigns. Somnath Chatterjee was expelled from the party three years back after he decided to preside over the Lok Sabha trust vote despite a diktat from the party to step down from the speaker's post. Left Front withdrew support from the government over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
Present at a press conference at party headquarters in Kolkata, Karat said that his party does not have any problem if Somnath Chatterjee campaigns for candidates. Chatterjee is likely to be present at a rally in support of CPM candidate Gautam Deb. “The battlelines are drawn now. Anyone who supports Left Front can come and join the campaign. Other matters are not relevant at present. We have taken a clear stand regarding that,” he said echoing Left Front chairman Biman Basu's statement on Wednesday.
During the half an hour interaction with the media Karat harped at length on 'throwing of illegal money' by Trinamool Congress. “We have already seen such things in Tamil Nadu. Election Commission has adopted some measures in the state. They have to put some checkposts in West Bengal too,” he said. While he was not as aggressive as his comrades like Gautam Deb, Karat said that his party