BY: ROHIT TIWARI
Releasing its Lok Sabha election manifesto ahead of other parties, the CPM Thursday called for “rejection of the Congress” and “defeat of the BJP”.
Several proposals were repeats of its 2009 manifesto or modification of UPA’s social welfare measures. There were some additions, including constitutional amendment to make consent of a state legislature mandatory for a new state to be carved out. This was a fallout of Andhra bifurcation despite the Assembly rejecting creation of Telangana.
There is a proposal to make Right to Work a constitutional right in the 48-page manifesto which proposed an MGNREGA-like legislation for urban areas and a universal food security legislation.
“This is an appeal to people to vote for CPM, strengthen the Left and work for a secular, democratic alternative… It has become clear this election is being sought to be projected as a battle between certain leaders and personalities, devoid of major issues and policies…,” party general secretary Prakash Karat said. He said the Congress had failed and the BJP was a “retrograde and reactionary alternative”. He added that Left parties were working with “unity” and downplayed the split with RSP in Kerala.
The manifesto criticised UPA policies and proposed reforms including repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, decriminalisation of Section 377, abolition of death penalty, and amendment of Article 3 to make consent of state legislature mandatory for a state to be bifurcated/reorganised by Parliament.
The manifesto also promises employment guarantee in urban areas for adults. For youth, it talks about Right to Work as a constitutional right for the first time. It talks about a sub-plan for Muslims like its 2009 manifesto.