Disinvestment policy affecting national sovereignty: CPI-M

New Delhi, Jan 25 | Updated: Jan 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
Strongly opposing the governments decision to disinvest stake in blue chip public sector companies, CPI-M said that the governments economic policies were no different from the previous NDA regimes.

We strongly oppose the UPA governments decision to disinvest stake in Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Maruti Udyog Ltd, said CPI-M politburo member Prakash Karat. He was addressing party workers at a function to inaugurate the reception committee of the partys 18th congress, scheduled to be held from April 6 to 11 here, on Tuesday.

Earlier, the NDA government had divested 37% in BHEL, leaving the government stake at only 67%. Now this government wants to divest some more equity. They say that as long as the government has 51%, it will belong to the government, but it doesnt take long to make the 51% to 49%, or less, Mr Karat said, adding that this was why they were opposed to the disinvestment process.

Saying that BHEL was a navratna company, he said that the Left parties had repeatedly told the government that if they needed money to meet their budgetary deficit, they should go to the share market or float shares, not sell government stake in important PSUs to meet budgetary deficits.

This will eventually lead to privatisation of navratnas, he said, adding that the Left parties would voice their objection at the next UPA-Left coordination committee meeting, scheduled for February 1.

Stating that the Left parties were opposed to several polices of the UPA government, including allowing more FDI in the print media, the Patents Act, and disinvestment in PSUs, the CPI-M leader said all this was jeopardising the countrys national sovereignty, adding that the UPA government was no different from the previous NDA regime.

Instead of strengthening our industries, the government is destroying them, he said.

Later, speaking to mediapersons, Mr Karat also said that the Left would also oppose the governments decision to divest 7.5% shares in Maruti Udyog, adding that although the majority stake in that company was with Suzuki, CPI-M was still not in favour of liquidating the governments stake.

The government plans to sell 10% equity in BHEL and 7.5% shares in Maruti Udyog in the next fiscal to raise about Rs 2,500 crore. A decision on this is expected to be taken up by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs on Thursday.