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2019 Election Manifesto of CPI (ML) Red Star : Defeat BJP, Rally for People’s Alternative

06 March 2019

2019 Election Manifesto of CPI (ML) Red Star

Defeat BJP, Rally for People’s Alternative

  1. Introduction

1.1 The 2019 General Election for the 17thLok Sabha is taking place at a critical juncture. Anti-terror jingoism and Pakistan-hatred are cunningly whipped up by Modi and the saffron forces on the eve of the elections. Though the trend is towards de-escalation of tension on the border, the war hysteria is still spread through corporate media. But as reflected in the recent assembly elections people’s resentment is growing against the neoliberal Modi regime. Country-wide peasant upsurges, militant working class struggles as manifested in the January 8-9 General Strike, youth and students movements, protests by oppressed castes against subversion of caste-based reservation, adivasis’ movement against depriving their rights to land and livelihood, women’s fury against patriarchal oppression and gender inequality, struggles for protecting the environment and habitat, etc. are gathering momentum against the corporate-saffron fascistic rule. It is in this context, the CPI (ML) Red Star is intervening in the forthcoming elections with the call to defeat BJP, build up people’s alternative based on a people-oriented  development program as explained in the Political Resolution adopted in the recently concluded 11th Congress of the Party.

  1. Five Years of Modi Regime and the Indian Situation Today

2.1   BJP came to power in 2014 utilising the people’s fury against the 10-years of Congress-led UPA rule with just 31 percent of the votes polled. With the backing of corporate media Modi  made use of populist, anti-corruption election plank to ascend to power. But within no time Modi unveiled himself as the chosen representative of the most corrupt corporate class. The BJP itself later admitted Modi’s promise of putting Rs. 15 lakh in the account of each Indians after repatriating unaccounted money from abroad as a mere election stunt. Backed by RSS-led extreme divisive policies, instigating mutual hatred among people,  creating feelings of insecurity among the oppressed including dalits, adivasis, minorities and unleashing patriarchal and obscurantist attacks on women, the Modi regime has put every aspect of social life under the firm grip of corporate-saffron forces. A corollary of this ultra-rightist neoliberal-corporatization has been India’s conspicuous transformation as a strategic junior partner of US imperialism under corporate saffron fascist regime. 

2.2   In the economic front, the Indian situation today is the worst since 2008-09 when the country was confronting the global slow-down. Under Modi rule, agricultural growth declined from 4.2 percent in 2014 to around just one percent as of now. During this period, India witnessed a 40 percent increase in peasant suicides, two-thirds of which are in BJP ruled states alone. As against Modi’s election pledge of creating 2 crore additional jobs per year, not only no new jobs were created, but according to the 2018 statistics, the country is actually losing 1 crore jobs per annum. Even the logo of the much trumpeted “Make in India” was designed by a foreign company, namely, Weiden+ Kennedy and the unhindered entry of foreign capital to the economy has led to an unparalleled joblessness. Together with this, the immediate cause behind the economic slow-down has been the imperialist-sponsored demonetisation that Modi super-imposed over the people for facilitating corporate loot. Based on Modi government’s affidavit to the Supreme Court and latest RBI Report, illegal cash alone worth Rs. 5 lakh crore might have been whitened through demonetisation. Demonetisation coupled with GST that deprived the states of its constitutional right of tax collection, have devastated entire unorganised sectors providing livelihood for more than 90 percent of India’s workforce; it led to  2-3 percent reduction in country’s national income. As a manifestation of country’s weak economic foundation, between June 2014 (when Modi came to power) and December 2018, while the rupee has depreciated by more than 30 percent, central government debt has shot up by around 50 percent from 54 lakh crore in June 2014 to more than 82 lakh crore!

  2.3 During Modi rule, taxes on petrol and diesel were raised by 200 percent and 400 percent respectively, while LPG price doubled. Together with the highest GST rates in the world coupled with corporate control over price-fixing, the fuel price hike which also is the highest in the world, has led to sky-rocketing of the prices of all items of mass consumption and essential services, even as peasants are denied minimum prices for their sustenance. Earnings and living conditions of the common people have declined further such that in the Global Hunger Index India’s ranking under Modi rule has deteriorated by 37 percent reaching 100th  among 119 countries, much below that of neighbouring countries. The top one percent of the super-rich holding around 52 percent of country’s total wealth and the total wealth of the top 9 billionaires being equal to that of the bottom 50 percent of the population, India has become one of the most unequal countries in the world. As a result of Modi’s policies, while the wealth of these billionaires swelled by Rs. 2200 crore a day, the total wealth of 119 Indian billionaires crossed Rs. 28 lakh crore in 2018! Under Modi, India has become the most corrupt country in Asia. The Rafale deal involving Rs.30,000 crore corruption in which Modi himself is alleged to have involved is only the tip of the iceberg. Demonetisation itself has been unfolded as Modi’s cunning move to whiten the huge unaccounted hoardings of corporate black money holders closely associated with BJP. The same corporate class is also allowed to loot the public sector banks leading to the accumulation of a whopping Rs.15 lakh crore worth of “non-performing assets” with banks.

2.4 Social condition of the oppressed has further worsened. Under Modi regime, sexual violence against women has become horrific prompting international media to characterise India as the “rape capital” of the world.  Moral policing by free-wheeling saffron goons against women, especially dalit women, has become conspicuous. The BJP leadership that tries to reap maximum communal mileage from the Triple Talaq issue maintains total silence on women’s reservation in parliament and legislatures. Atrocities on dalits and adivasis have become regular feature. The Supreme Court judgement on the SC/ST atrocities Act was another manifestation of the growing brahmanical offensive against the oppressed castes. Caste-based reservation is undermined by enacting the 124th Constitutional amendment on 10 percent economic reservation. Malnourishment and hunger deaths have become frequent among adivasis; while  bureaucratic manipulation has led to recent supreme Court order threatening to throw out millions of adivasi families from their habitats. Islamophobia is systematically built up and Muslims are frequently attacked and lynched by Hindutva goons masked as cow vigilantes. Patriarchal and caste-based codes and obscurantist brahmanical values are substituted for progressive cultural and scientific thinking at all levels. Dissenting scholars and media-people are targeted as anti-nationals and charged with UAPA and anti-sedition laws. All key policy-making and implementation bodies of the central government are packed with RSS-affiliated intellectuals and corporate-saffron leaders even as autonomy of all Constitutional institutions is undermined.

  2.5 In the name of development, all environmental regulations and labour laws are liberalized, amended or abolished. Corporate financiers engaged in infrastructure projects are given unfettered freedom for natural resource exploitation in gross violation of laws pertaining to workplace, land conservation, food agriculture, forest, wildlife and coastal zones, with highly detrimental impacts on the sustenance of workers especially women workforce, dalits, adivasis, fishers and so on leading to a surge in people’s struggles from various parts of the country.

2.6   Kashmir and the entire North-east are totally militarised. Implementation of the saffron agenda in Kashmir has increased the killings of civilians by military and police, even as the death of soldiers has gone up by 93 percent under Modi rule before the Phulwama suicide attack.   Wanton use of black laws such as AFSPA and militarization coupled with the Citizenship Register program specifically targeting against the Muslims in Assam and selective granting of citizenship to Hindus from neighbouring countries have resulted in communal polarisation throughout the border regions of India. Internal saffronisation has its external dimension too. Modi government’s communal handling of the Rohingya refugees identified as the most persecuted people in the world question is an example. In the same vein, Modi regime’s big-brother bullying attitude has also led to an unprecedented worsening of relations with India’s neighbours.

   2.7 In brief, Modi government’s five year rule has brought the country to a disastrous situation having all round economic, political, social and cultural consequences. The corporate-saffron fascist regime has deprived the vast majority of people of their meagre livelihood and sustenance. Massive subsidization, tax exemptions and diversion of the country’s wealth to the corporate class, both foreign and Indian, have resulted in steep cuts in all kinds of social welfare spending and forcible extraction from even the bare minimum subsistence of people. In the name of ‘ease of doing business’, a whole set of corporate-friendly regulations are imposed on the one hand, while hard-earned democratic rights of workers, peasants and oppressed people are snatched away on the other. Against this corporate onslaught, protests by women, workers, peasants, oppressed dalits and adivasis are rising up all over the country. All present indications clearly point to Modi’s ouster from power in the forthcoming elections. As BJP is the most reactionary of all the ruling class parties in India, presently the number one political representative of the corporate ruling class imposing saffron fascistic policies, it is the biggest threat to the people, and its ouster is the central task before them in this election.

  1. Positions of other Political Parties

3.1. Though almost all other parties are getting united to oust BJP from power, it is necessary to understand their approaches to all vital challenges before India polity. It was the Congress which initiated the neoliberal policies in 1991 and which dragged India in to IMF-World Bank-WTO trio, the pillars of neo-colonialism without even consulting the parliament. Congress’ claims of fighting communal fascism are hollow as it was the Rao government that provided the umbrella for demolishing the Babri Masjid. Saffronisation of the state machinery and spreading of the Hindutva tentacles started during the Congress regime.  While targeting Muslims for all terrorist attacks, to appease Hindutva sentiments, the Congress government had refrained from taking actions against the RSS outfits involved in various communal riots and massacres including those perpetrators of the Gujarat genocide. The Hindutva orientation of Congress is once again exposed in the recent MP government’s decision to invoke the National Security Act on Muslim youth in the name of cow smuggling.

3.2  Various regional and state-level parties with communal, casteist and parochial interests not only compete and collude with the Congress and BJP, but also among each other for implementing neoliberal policies. Though the CPI (M) and the Left Front led by it speak at length against both saffronisation and neoliberal policies, in practice, its stance against saffron fascistization is separated from the latter’s inseparable link with neo-liberalism. For instance, when Modi government at the behest of neoliberal centers superimposed the anti-federal, pro-corporate GST, the CPI (M) led Kerala government was in the forefront in wholeheartedly supporting it.  Without any qualms it also supported the economic reservation bill of Modi that undermined the caste-based reservation system in India. And the left sectarian sections of the political spectrum are getting alienated from the people and also becoming increasingly politically irrelevant.

  1. CPI (ML) Red Star’s Approach

4.1   It is in this context that, as upheld in the Political Resolution adopted by the 11th Congress, the CPI (ML) Red Star is putting forward this Election Manifesto with the principal task of defeating the corporate-saffron rule of BJP in the 2019 election.  From the Party’s perspective of independent left assertion, this task is invariably connected with the proposal for building up of a people’s alternative, or a people’s development paradigm, against the ultra-rightist neoliberal policies. It calls for uncompromising struggle against neo-liberalism together with the struggle for all-round democratization of society based on firm unity among genuine left, secular, democratic and struggling forces.

4.2 During the past several years, CPI (ML) Red Star has been actively engaged in building up people’s struggles and movements against imperialist globalization and the liberalization-privatization or corporatization agenda of central and state governments.  It was consistently  participating in the struggles against displacement of people from their habitat in the name of infrastructure build-up, environmental destruction, corporate loot of nature and people through PPP projects, super-imposition of nuclear projects, saffron attacks on women, dalits, advasis and minorities, eviction of slum dwellers, violation of democratic rights, etc. The Party carried out nation-wide campaigns against Modi’s demonetization and against the anti-federal, pro-corporate GST.  Along with campaigns and struggles in different fronts pertaining to women, working class, peasantry, adivasis, youth, students, culture, democratic rights etc., the party has taken initiative for building up the Caste Annihilation Movement whose ultimate task is elimination of the inhuman caste system.

4.3 In this context, the success of the Bhangar people’s resistance movement in West Bengal developed under the political leadership of CPI (ML) Red Star together with left, democratic and struggling forces against the power grid line displacing people from their land, depriving livelihood and destroying environment is of particular relevance. While defeating super-imposition of the grid project, the movement also has become a model for successfully resisting the repressive policies and reign of terror unleashed by the state. And the Committee for Protection of Land, Livelihood, Ecology and Environment that stood for the local body elections in Bhangar could also make impressive victory in those seats where it contested. The Bhangar people’s movement underscores the correctness of the Party’s political line that movement-backed political atmosphere is indispensable for the electoral victory of a revolutionary party. Accordingly, the Party has resolved to carry out its electoral struggles wherever the Party can take the lead for mass people’s movements and appropriate political initiatives according to concrete conditions with the perspective independent self-assertion.

  1. Program for People’s Alternative

5.1 In this background, the CPI (ML) Red Star is putting forward this manifesto that calls upon the people to defeat of the corporate-saffron fascist regime of BJP from the perspective of building up progressive-democratic people’s alternative against neoliberal policies. The party appeals to the people, the oppressed women, the working class including the vast majority of informal and unorganized among them, the peasantry and the landless poor peasants, agricultural workers, slum dwellers, youth, students and all democratic forces to cast their votes based on this manifesto and get mobilized in struggles and campaigns to elect a people’s government to fulfill the tasks as briefly put below.

5.2 Constitutional Tasks

5.2 a Transform the parliament as the genuine representative body of the people instead of its present position as a rubber stamp of the executive which is serving corporate capital.

 5.2 b Make it mandatory on the part of executive to seek prior permission from the parliament on basic policy-making regarding economic, political and international questions.

5.2 c Since the possibility of insertion of malicious software in to EVMs and manipulation of voting preferences being already proved,  one of the immediate tasks of the people’s government shall be a return to the ballot system. Along with this, steps shall be initiated to democratize the electoral process by totally keeping communal forces away from interfering in election and replacing the ‘first pass the post system’ with proportional representation and introduction of people’s right to recall the elected representatives.

5.2 d Overhaul the present authoritarian and bureaucratic administrative system; ensure   decentralization of power to the people at all levels like administration, judiciary and police.

 5.2 e Establish civilian control over military establishment; defense sector shall be subjected to parliamentary auditing.

5.2 f Ensure federal principles ingrained in to the Constitution. Except foreign affairs, defense, currency, international trade, national public utilities and central planning, all other tasks should be taken over from the central government and vested with the states and local governments.

  1. 2 g Stop militarisation of Kashmir; settle Kashmir question politically through people’s referendum. Deployment of military in frontier states in the guise of law and order and imposition of draconian black laws should be stopped.
  2. 3 Administrative Reforms

 5.3 a Broadest possible participation of the people at all levels should be ensured. Local bodies, with gram panchayats as the base, should be entrusted with the task of micro-level planning pertaining to agriculture, agro-based, small and medium industries, housing, healthcare, school education, panchayat courts and ecological protection. Appropriate measures for the devolution of police and judicial functions to local bodies for effective decentralization of power should be carried out.

 5.3 b Ensure genuine multi-layered decentralization and devolution of administrative power to the lowest levels so that work-based committees of people wield real power in their habitat, surroundings and neighbourhoods. Eliminate all forms of bureaucratic control over the elected bodies.

5.3 c The people’s government shall appoint a Commission or inter-state council to study and resolve all inter-state problems including river-water and natural resource sharing.

5.4 People-oriented , Ecologically Sustainable Development Paradigm

 5.4 a Replace the present development model driven by corporate capital accumulation, ruthless plunder of nature and curtailment of democratic rights with  a people’s development paradigm from the perspective of working and broad masses of toiling people, and expand the realm of democracy in a sustainable manner. Strive for a development perspective which is pro-people, pro-nature and pro-women.

  1. 5 Fulfillment of Anti-imperialist Tasks and Building up of National Self-reliant Economy

5.5 a Take urgent steps to build a national, self-reliant economy with the orientation of  people’s alternative. Take immediate steps to quit IMF, World Bank and WTO and to put an end to dependence on all forms of imperialist capital. Immediate steps should be taken to bring back all the funds taken out and deposited in foreign tax havens. Such money should be invested productively for building up self-reliant national economy. Confiscation and nationalization of the assets of imperialist-based MNCs are preconditions for independent national development. As part of this, all debts owed to imperialist governments, neocolonial institutions, funding agencies, banks and financial agencies shall be written off.

5.5 b  All strategic, key and core sector industries, services, infrastructures and public utilities including petroleum, electricity and energy sources, mining, steel, communications, ports-roads-railways-airways, etc. and such other sectors which are deemed necessary by the people’s government shall be nationalized and brought under public sector. The trend towards privatization shall be reversed and crony capitalist nexus among corporate houses, ruling class politicians and higher bureaucracy which is the basis of flourishing corruption and scams should be eliminated. The people’s government shall unearth and confiscate all black money including those connected with religious and spiritual institutions.  types of mafia operations shall be suppressed.

5.5 c The people’s government shall abolish all tax exemptions to the corporate and super-rich classes and the system of progressive direct taxation on wealth and profits has to be strengthened. It shall abolish the anti-federal GST and remove indirect taxation on necessaries and essential items such as food and fuel used by the vast majority of people. The people’s government shall pursue a policy of price stability especially regarding mass consumption goods and services. It shall prohibit all forms of speculation, real estate and money-spinning businesses.

5.6 On Equality of Women and Transgender Community

5.6 a The people’s government shall guarantee equality of women and trans-genders in all fields. It shall eliminate all sorts of violence, exploitation and oppression of women within the family, workplaces and public spaces. It shall abolish all forms of patriarchy that give rise to gender inequality at all levels and all places.  It shall ensure women’s and trans-genders equal right to inheritance and property. All kinds of discrimination and harassment to LGBT+Q community shall be stopped forthwith.

5.6 b It shall abolish prostitution in all its forms including child prostitution and ensure rehabilitation of the victims.  It shall end commodification of women and sex tourism.

5.6 c  It shall implement a uniform civil law for marriage and strictly implement anti-dowry law with people’s participation. It shall ensure the right to all to select their partners without interference from state, caste, religion and other obscurantist forces.  Caste-religious based patriarchal codes, values, customs and traditions against women shall be abolished.

5.6 d Implement 50 percent reservation for women in all elected bodies up to Lok Sabha, in the judiciary, police and in administration.

5.6 e It shall ensure full maternity benefits including six months’ leave with full wage/salary with provision for extension if need arises. Ensuring community day-care facilities for all children in the pre-school stage with full guarantee for their healthcare and recreation shall be essential task of the people’s government.

5.7 Tasks of Caste Annihilation and Secularism

5.7 a The people’s government shall resort to all required steps to break the backbone of brahmanical caste system paving the way for caste annihilation altogether.  Together with radical land reforms and caste-based reservation, it shall carry out all required administrative steps to deal with perpetrators of all forms of caste-oppression, caste-discrimination, untouchability, and Khap panchayats like reactionary institutions. It shall ensure reservation based on caste as a democratic right in all fields including private sector till cast-based inequalities and disabilities are abolished. Brahmanical offensives like economic reservation undermining the concept of caste-based reservation shall be defeated. People’s government shall initiate broad-based anti-caste, democratic movements and campaigns and appropriate cultural interventions for developing people’s consciousness against the inhuman caste system.

5.7 b It shall abolish all religious discriminations and ensure the protection of all religious minorities.  It shall take necessary steps to make the state genuinely secular and religion as a private affair of believers. The people’s government shall have its firm stand against religious intervention in political, economic or administrative matters. It shall also take all necessary steps to put an end to all communal interferences in matters connected with education and culture including art, literature and media. It shall take strict action against those indulging in unlawful activities irrespective of their religious beliefs. Victimization of minorities under the guise of Islamophobia shall not be tolerated.

5.8 Agrarian Policy

 5.8 a The people’s government shall implement radical land reforms based on the principle of land to the tiller, by fixing a ceiling of five acres of fertile irrigated land or equivalent un-irrigated land to a family fully dependent on agriculture, and by fixing a ceiling of one acre for a family whose means of livelihood is not mainly agriculture.  It shall clearly identify and earmark all forest lands, ecologically sensitive wet-lands, water-bodies, mangroves, and other lands required for ecological conservation, land required for public spaces and purposes, education, health, people’s recreation and industrial sites.  All lands in excess of this, shall be distributed to landless peasants and agricultural workers. It shall eliminate still surviving feudal remnants and illegal occupations by land mafia. The people’s government shall implement urban land ceiling and taxation of urban property.

5.8 b It shall stop corporatization of agriculture and throw out MNCs and corporate agribusinesses from land grabbing and seed-fertilizer-pesticide sectors.  It shall eliminate corporate control over agricultural input and output prices. It shall abolish all anti-peasant import, price, and credit policies. It shall ensure all agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, credit, electricity, etc., at subsidized and affordable rates to peasants. It shall abolish all forms of usury by extending cheap credit for peasants on a priority basis from public sources through a network of rural banking. It shall provide adequate support prices for all agricultural products and ensure procurement of all agricultural surplus at remunerative prices by public sector. It shall put an end to private procurement, hoarding and speculation of agricultural products including food grains by corporate traders. 

5.8 c Co-operative and collective farming shall be encouraged along with providing all assistance for developing agriculture on a sustainable basis. It shall give particular attention for all avenues of organic farming and sustainable irrigation projects including rain harvesting. It shall stop bio-fuel cultivation and replace export-oriented cash crop agriculture with special orientation towards food self-sufficiency. It shall appropriately link agricultural development with ecologically sustainable employment generating agro-industries.

5.8 d The people’s government shall take over all surplus lands, illegally occupied government land, land belonging to mutts, religious-caste organizations and trusts after fixing a land ceiling for such agencies and distribute them among landless poor peasants and agricultural workers. It shall take over the plantations, farms, etc. held by MNCs, corporate houses and land mafia and shall be brought under workers’ control. It shall take over lands owned by NRIs, bureaucrats, high income sections, industrialists, corporate traders, etc., and distribute them among the peasantry.

5.8 e The people’s government shall defeat all neoliberal moves to reverse land ceiling acts and to promote land concentration in corporate and mafia hands.  It shall strictly stop conversion of prime agricultural land for SE2s, tourism zones, townships, airports and industrial sites. It shall issue ownership rights to land already distributed or in possession of landless peasants and agricultural workers, cancel all debts of landless peasants/agricultural workers and peasant families owning up to 5 acres of irrigated or equivalent un-irrigated land.

5.8 f It shall implement comprehensive agricultural workers act ensuring welfare measures, including food, shelter, education and healthcare needs.  It shall implement proper rural employment programs with guaranteed minimum wages. It shall empower gram panchayats and village level people’s committees to be vigilant against displacement of peasantry and defeat the involvement of corporate and real estate mafia in the country-side.

  1. 9 Adivasi/Tribal Question

5.9 a The people’s government shall resolve the grave problems confronted by adivasi/tribal sections who constitute 8-10 % of the country’s population. Together with strict implementation all existing laws, the people’s government shall promulgate new laws for the protection of their land including the establishment of adivasi autonomous councils in all tribal-majority areas, and eliminate all forms of exploitation against them. It shall protect land, culture and languages of all tribal people through appropriate legal and administrative steps. The people’s government shall give specific attention to the educational and health requirements of adivasis. 

5.10 Industrial and Technological Policy

5.10 a The people’s government shall take all necessary steps for reversing the neoliberal trends pertaining to industry, and shall pursue an inward-looking, self-reliant, job oriented and ecologically sustainable industrial policy ending its dependence on imperialist capital, technology and market. It shall take urgent steps to bring all key and core sector industries and infrastructures under public sector.

5.10 b Industrial locations shall be decided after proper planning to avoid the evils of urbanization, concentration of industries in any particular region and displacement of people from their habitats.  There should be an adequate and proper relation among large-scale, medium and small-scale industries on the one hand and agriculture and service sectors on the other. Industries shall be diversified, decentralized and labour-intensive as per the requirements of the people oriented development paradigm.

5.10 c Scientific research and development shall be brought under democratic control of the people’s government abolishing the imperialist stranglehold over them as dictated by WTO-led intellectual property system. Erecting barriers on scientific know-how and information through corporate monopoly over patents, copyright, design and trademark shall be abolished. All scientific, technological and research institutions shall be brought under the democratic control of people who should have free access to them. The stature of Indian scientific research institutions as appendages of imperialist research centers needs to be stopped.  The whole process of scientific research shall be decentralized incorporating people’s initiatives at all levels. Based on an objective evaluation of industries like IT which is based on outsourcing and lacking domestic linkages, particular attention is required for developing appropriate linkages of industrial research and technology with various sectors of the domestic economy.

5.10 d One of the primary tasks of the people’s government shall be freeing industry from corporate greed. Most of today’s ecological questions such as global warming, ozone depletion, fresh water scarcity, deforestation, desertification, extinction of species, loss of biodiversity, chemical pollution, radioactive contamination from nuclear industry and so on can be resolved only through an appropriate industrial, scientific and technology policy which should be fully compatible with the preservation of ecology and habitat of the people. The people’s government shall strive for a sustainable development policy that must reject emulation of mainstream capitalist model of development and the notion of catching up with the GDP growth rates of western countries. 

5.11 Energy Policy

5.11 a The people’s government shall take up the development of an energy policy that is independent of all sorts of corporate control and in conformity with the priorities of the people’s development in all fields. As fossil fuels which form the major source of energy today are going to be depleted within a period of 50 years, and as the nuclear energy is scientifically and economically unviable, as in the west, we should strive for the development of non-conventional forms such as solar, wind and tidal energies. In this situation, as the very nature of these new energy sources such as solar and wind power are conducive for decentralized, employment-oriented and eco-friendly industrial and economic pattern, the people’s government shall give maximum attention  to them, linking this policy with the people’s  development alternative. Providing special attention to India’s geographical and climatic location, it shall give special attention and take appropriate measures for solar energy like sources which will help India to fully solve its energy problem in a self-reliant manner.

5.11 b The people’s government shall work for a development culture that minimizes energy consumption. It should repudiate the imperialist consumer culture for which the level and quality of development is measured in terms of per capita energy consumption. It shall advocate and educate the people for the development of a culture minimizing energy consumption that is ecologically sustainable and economically efficient. At the present stage of scientific development, as nuclear energy is totally untenable and unworkable, it shall reject all nuclear plants, including the newly proposed ones and strive for universal nuclear disarmament.

5.12People’s Transportation Policy

5.12 a Developing and strengthening public transport system affordable to the broad masses of toiling people should form the core of people’s transportation policy. Proliferation of private vehicles and the growth of road lobby in unholy alliance with the politician-bureaucratic– corporate-contractor nexus shall be dealt with appropriately.

5.12 b In view of the geographical diversities of the country, instead of relying heavily on any one particular mode of transport, an integrated transportation policy composed of road, rail and water transport, both coastal and inland, has to be adopted and developed. Along with this the neoliberal policy of constructing infrastructures like road, rail, ports, etc. under PPP basis that allows corporates to indefinitely and unscrupulously carry on their plunder of the people and naturalresources shall be reversed.

5.13  Prohibiting FDI in Domestic Trade

5.13 a The people’s government shall take appropriate measures for protecting retail trade, the share of which in providing employment and livelihood to people in India is second only to agriculture. Around 95 percent of the retail trade in the country is in the informal/unorganized sector that where around  5 crore retail outlets provide sustenance and livelihood to almost 20 crore people. Therefore, the entry of MNCs through FDI in retail trade where no valid political or economic justification has been put forward by vested interests is an urgent task of the people’s government. This is essential for preserving the badly needed linkages among agriculture, industry and trade from the perspective of a national, self-reliant democratic development.

5.14 Provision of Social Services and Public Distribution

 5.14 a Ensuring the right to food, clothing, housing, education, healthcare and employment for all by incorporating it as fundamental right in the Constitution and taking appropriate steps for its implementation shall be the prime task of the people’s government. The neoliberal approach of cutting subsidies for food and fuel should be ended and PDS shall be strengthened and expanded further by extending statutory rationing not only for food items, but for all essential commodities.

 5.14 b The people’s government shall reverse all policies of commercialization and corporatization of education forthwith. It should take appropriate measures to develop and implement scientific, secular, democratic education, starting with community schools. It shall promote and develop all national languages. It shall ensure universal, free and compulsory education in the mother tongue up to the secondary level.  The people’s government shall frame an educational policy excluding private and foreign corporate forces of all hues including religious and caste organizations and other reactionary forces from the field of public education altogether.

5.14 c It shall ensure universal and affordable primary health facilities for all. Domination of pharmaceutical MNCs and private commercial interests in the country’s health sphere shall be abolished. Medical profession shall be democratized by evolving an integrated medical system drawing the positive aspects from various traditions and systems of medicine. Present use of Indian people as guinea pigs by corporate medical companies with the connivance of the anti-national, local middlemen shall be abolished.

5.15 Question of Slum Dwellers and Housing Right

5.15 a Right to shelter shall be adopted as the basic human right. Housing based on generally accepted minimum space for living and standard with the right to food, water, electricity/fuel, sanitation, sewerage, drainage, community open space, playground, etc., shall be ensured to all. Eviction/demolition of the slums shall be stopped forthwith.   All slum-dwellers shall be provided with the above minimum housing nearer to their place of work. A maximum ceiling for building-space for family houses shall be fixed and implemented.

5.15 b In all urban development projects, ensure 40 percent of the land for slum and pavement dwellers, street vendors, destitute, and weaker sections based on the principle “housing for all”. The people’s government shall take specific steps for the urban poor through cooperatives and local outlets under local bodies to ensure all essential goods and needs of sustenance.

  1. 16 Employment and Workers’ Rights

5.16 a The people’s government shall strive for strict implementation of six-hour work and five-day week in all sectors and establishments and guarantee employment for all. Based on the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’, gender-bias in wages towards women shall be abolished. Women-friendly working conditions shall be ensured. In case of involuntary unemployment, compulsory unemployment allowance shall be provided at par with the statutory minimum wage as decided by the people’s government. It shall uphold the democratic and trade union rights of workers and shall ensure the right to form trade unions including the right to strike.

5.16 b The people’s government shall abolish contract labour system and ‘hire and fire’ policy. Statutory pension and retirement benefits including state-managed provident funds managed to ensure a safe retirement life shall be ensured. All forms bonded labour and child labour shall be abolished and those who were subjected to these practices shall be appropriately rehabilitated.

5.17  Youth Policy

5.17 a Taking the specificities of contemporary changes pertaining to ideas, employment and culture that have serious impact on the material life and mental make-up of youth, the people’s government shall evolve a scientific youth policy. It shall pursue appropriate interventions to ward off the reactionary and neo-conservative ideas on youth.  It shall have a scientific approach to the universal involvement of youth in sports and games against feudal prejudices and market interests. It shall evolve a national sports policy and must eliminate speculative/betting/gambling interests in this field. 

  1. 18 People’s Culture

5.18 a The people’s government shall initiate steps to promote scientific outlook in all fields and shall strive to eradicate all feudal, casteist, obscurantist, superstitious, reactionary, decadent and revivalist ideas and culture. It shall put an end to all attacks on democratic cultural values, institutions, and on cultural activists by saffron forces and all religious fundamentalists.  It shall stop the interference of all such reactionary forces in education, research, art, literature and media.

5.18 b It shall seek appropriate steps to resist commodification of culture as well as all forms of imperialist invasion in the realm of culture.  Necessary steps shall be taken to deal with the culture of alcoholism and drug abuse directed at disorienting particularly the youth. Mafiosi and criminalization politics and culture propped up by vested interests shall be wiped out with people’s participation.

5.19 Democratization of Media

 

5.19 a In the place of the mainstream corporate media moulding public opinion, the people’s government is duty-bound to take initiative for a democratization of the media.It shall reverse the ‘paid news’ culture and facilitate the evolvement of critical, democratic public opinion and progressive values without favour or fear. Avenues of democratic space associated with social shall be properly addressed. The people’s government shall initiate necessary steps required for regimenting corporate and neoconservative hold over media.  

5.20  Protection and Expansion of Democratic Rights

5.20 a The people’s government shall totally reverse the neoliberal trend towards fascistization of the state machinery.  While protecting the hard-earned democratic rights by people, it shall strive to expand them further.

5.20 b It shall stop bureaucratization of all sorts and encourage effective people’s participation in all spheres. All black laws such as UAPA, AFSPA, and anti-sedition laws which are in the statute books shall be repealed. Deployment of military, paramilitary and police forces especially in J & K and North East and people’s struggles in different parts of the country will be reversed.

5.20 c In the place of the worn-out and anti-people police force that is still rooted in the colonial tradition shall be appropriately transformed in to a people’s police with genuine and meaningful involvement of the people at the local-grassroots level. 

5.20 d The entire judicial system and jail administration shall be revamped from the perspective of gr democratization of society.  Death penalty shall be abolished.

5.21 Policy on Migration

 5.21 a Large-scale internal migration arising from corporatization of agriculture and consequent displacement of peasantry calls for appropriate action on the part of the people’s government. This requires a reversal of the negative trends in agriculture on the one hand, and proper rehabilitation of the displaced with land, livelihood, shelter and social security.

5.21 b Rehabilitation of the large number of expatriates from Gulf countries who have contributed much to India’s foreign exchange reserve, and who are now forced to return due to economic downturn shift in policies there, is an important task of the people’s government. As the coming days are to witness an increasing inflow of the Gulf returnees, appropriate steps for their rehabilitation involving efficient use of both their hard-earned savings and expertize should form an urgent task of the government. 

5.22 Approach towards Funded Organizations, NGOs, Micro-finance

5.22 a The people’s governmentfrom the perspective of people’s and national interest shall pursue a democratic approach to funded agencies working among people. It shall also pursue a flexible policy towards the well-meaning intellectuals in spite of their depoliticizing engagement with the people.  Through politicization of the masses and developing the people’s political alternative against capitalist model of development, many youth and intellectuals now working with NGOs and funding agencies shall be won over.

5.23 Foreign Policy

5.23 a The people’s government shall take immediate steps to get India out of all unequal economic, political, military and cultural treaties and agreements so far signed by the hitherto governments.  All treaties signed with US imperialism, world people’s number one enemy, including military and economic treaties, nuclear agreements that put India as a strategic junior partner of the US shall be scrapped. Efforts shall be made together with like-minded countries to come out of the present US led neocolonial international and regional economic institutions such as IMF, WB, WTO, ADB, etc. and to replace them with appropriate democratic economic, monetary and trade arrangements and cooperation agreements.

5.23 b The people’s government shall initiate uniting with like-minded forces at the international level for a basic restructuring in international relations. Instead of the UN system, Security Council and its affiliated institutions and agencies that primarilyserve the US-led neocolonial global order, concerted efforts are required to build necessary institutions and arrangements for facilitating fraternal international cooperation among peoples of different countries.

5.23 c  In the same vein, it shall try to evolve regional economic and political cooperation and friendly relations among neighbouring Asian countries including Pakistan based on equality shedding the big brotherly posture of India built up by successive governments. Boundary disputes with neighbouring countries especially with Pakistan which are colonial left-overs shall be settled through bilateral discussions. It shall fight against all forms of neocolonial oppression and establish unity and solidarity among oppressed countries and peoples of the world; strive for world peace, abolition of arms race and for achieving universal nuclear disarmament.

  1. CPI (ML) Red Star’s Appeal

It was in the course of bitter struggle against the reformist and opportunist positions of CPI and later the CPI (M) the great  Naxalbari Uprising, putting forward agrarian revolution with the slogan land to the tiller and upholding national liberation and democratic revolution, took place in 1967, followed by the formation of CPI(ML) in 1969. It is by consistently taking positions against right opportunism and left adventurism that the CPI (ML) Red Star could evolve as a struggling revolutionary organization over decades.  Meanwhile, Party’s efforts to apply Marxist-Leninist theory and practice according to concrete conditions enabled it to have more clarity and understanding on the post-war neocolonial international and Indian situation in the proper perspective.  In continuation to numerous struggles and movements led by the Party including great sacrifices inspiring the toiling and oppressed, the Bhangar people’s movement has become a breakthrough. It has opened immense possibilities for developing people’s movements at different levels according to the concrete situation.

CPI (ML) Red Star has been consistently fighting against neoliberal policies since their very inception. While resolutely fighting against the anti-people, pro-corporate, reactionary policies of successive Congress-led and BJP-led governments, the party took initiative for forming the Caste Annihilation Movement envisaging basic democratization of the Indian society together with agrarian struggles with the land to the tiller slogan. It has been in the forefront in resisting Modi’s ultra-rightist economic policies like demonetization and GST. Together with all progressive-democratic forces and the oppressed, it is now campaigning against the Economic Reservation of Modi that undermined the caste-based reservation in India and against the threat of throwing out millions of adivasi families from their habitats.

The CPI (ML) is contesting the Lok Sabha elections fielding candidates in most of the states based on this Election Manifesto. It calls for building People’s Alternative against all ruling class alternatives. At a time when the corporate-saffron stranglehold in its diverse reactionary manifestations are intensifying day by day, building-up the people’s alternative based on this Manifesto uniting all genuine left, patriotic, democratic, secular forces assumes great significance. 

The CPI (ML) appeals to the working class, the landless-poor peasants and agricultural workers, to all other toiling masses and the patriotic democratic secular forces to rally for building this People’s Alternative.

 

* Defeat Corporate- Saffron Fascist Forces!

* Build up People’ Alternative based on Independent Left Assertion!

 

Published by the Central Committee of the CPI (ML) Red Star.

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.