Months ahead of Lok Sabha elections,Left parties on Monday unveiled a set of alternative policies by which it hopes to attract allies and try to prevent parties which are close to it from gravitating towards Mamata Banerjee by sending a signal that the Left was down but not out. The Left,however,appeared cautious as it ruled out the possibility of formation of a pre-poll front as an attempt to forge a coalition had come a cropper in 2009.
The Left,particularly the CPM,had accepted that the third front it had attempted to cobble up last time lacked credibility as it was simply a cut and paste arrangement on the eve of elections. So,this time,the attempt to scout for allies has been given a touch of credibility.
The parties unveiled a 10-point charter and invited secular and democratic parties to be part of this alternative policy platform.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said the parties would take the 10-point charter to the people over the next three months and talk to other parties at an appropriate time.
He said when the time comes,we will discuss it with other parties and ask them to consider it.
The country wants neeti (policy) and not netas (leaders) and hence this alternative set of policies, senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.
The set of alternative policies released at a convention of Left parties here include implementation of land reform measures,distribution of surplus land to the poor,ensuring house sites to each landless household,end to forcible land acquisition,introduction of universal public distribution system with 35 kg of foodgrain at a maximum price of Rs 2 a kg per month,scrapping of FDI in retail trade,stepping up of public investment for infrastructure,separation of religion and state as the basic principle to be embedded in the constitution and adoption of an independent foreign policy.
Karat,Yechury and other leaders including CPIs A B Bardhan and S Sudhakar Reddy argued that the BJP and the Congress are two sides of the same coin in terms of policies and programmes and one cannot be the alternative to the other. They said what is required today is the rejection of the policies and political platform of the Congress and the BJP.
Karat invited left and democratic and secular forces to come together and support the alternative policy platform. If you can run a big political campaign,this alternative can be formed, he said.
The leaders rubbished the talk that the 2014 election is going to be a battle between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. Now a days we are hearing some new ragaas being chanted raga (Rahul Gandhi) and namo (Narendra Modi). The country does not need new raagas, Yechury said.