Elections to 16th Lok Sabha scheduled in April-May 2014 are taking place at an important juncture. Over two decades of the implementation of the new economic policies of globalization, liberalization and privatization have played havoc with the Indian economy and brought sufferings to the overwhelming majority of the people.
Economy is facing deepening economic crisis evidenced by falling growth rate, near stagnant agricultural production, stagnation and decline in industrial production particularly manufacturing, rising external and internal debt burden, falling value of rupee and runaway inflation. Increasing hardships of people are evidenced by declining purchasing power, declining food grain availability, increasing unemployment, high rise in the prices of essential commodities, continued suicides by peasants, continued starvation of the rural poor, rampant malnutrition and anaemia and most of the essential services going out of the reach of common people.
While people are struggling against the increasing burden and the attacks on their livelihood, ruling classes are trying to further intensify the implementation of new economic policies handing over mineral wealth of the country to MNCs and corporate houses, grabbing land and water for SEZs and industrial corridors to serve foreign and Indian corporate, further opening up different sectors of economy to foreign capital and further increasing the burden on the people. They are cutting expenditure on social sectors and distributing freebies to corporate. They are following FDI dependent model of development which is eroding employment and domestic demand. Ruling classes are also trying to sharpen their attack on the people, workers and peasants. They have enacted more black laws and further sharpened their repressive machinery, police and paramilitary forces, employing paramilitary forces and even military in suppression of the people’s struggles at home.
For intensifying these anti-people policies and their anti-people rule, the ruling classes are also sowing illusions about their reforms. And besides reforms and repression, they are also intensifying their drive to divide the people on communal and parochial lines unleashing violence against minorities and brining about communal polarization for electoral gains. As their policies are getting more and more naked, so their conspiracies are becoming more and more brazen. Under their rule people are groaning under high price rise eroding their meagre incomes and under all pervading corruption, but rulers have neither the willingness nor the desire to address the basic causes of these.
Aware of the deep alienation of the common people, the ruling class parties, their main leaders, contenders and pretenders to the throne, are all pitching themselves as outsiders to the present power though they are products and beneficiaries of the same. They are talking of various issues only to deflect people’s anger against these classes and their political representatives. They are calling for change, but their call for change is basically to preserve and renew the status quo, this rule of big capitalists and big landlords. There is need to see through their virtual change or makeover change and build struggle for real revolutionary change. There is a need to shed illusions about the wares they are peddling in the electoral market and reject their sham change. There is need to utilize these elections to reject ruling class parties and their hollow promises and advance the struggle for revolutionary change which can change the life conditions of overwhelming majority of people, peasants and workers, dalits and tribals, religious and national minorities, women and youth, aged and disabled, all common people of India. Only communist revolutionaries stand for such a change while all ruling class and revisionist parties want to perpetuate the present anti-people system.
The election system is tailored to the interests of ruling classes, with full scope for the use of money, muscle power and media controlled by them. Election Commission exhorts the people to vote, spending huge money for this but makes the elections so costly as to take them out of reach of the common people and of organizations fighting for their cause. EC has increased the expenditure limit for a parliamentary candidate to 70 lakh rupees. Ruling class parties obviously have no objection because it is any way only a fraction of what they spend on elections. EC has ruled out inexpensive means of propaganda thereby increasing importance of expensive means which are out of reach of the common people. Such blatant use of money power and means of propaganda bought through it e.g. media, make the whole exercise coloured and unrepresentative of people’s will and interests. Any way the election system is highly undemocratic. Parties polling only a fraction of votes are able to become masters due to lack of proportional representation. Candidates elected turn their back on voters as they cannot be changed till the next elections as there is no right to recall. There is no mechanism to force the parties to honour their election promises.
Deterioration in condition of the people
What has their rule brought to the people? Only misery, privation, destitution, poverty and backwardness. Ruling classes have abandoned land reforms and even the land distributed earlier is mostly on paper. Landless poor peasants and agricultural labourers are not given possession of the agricultural land allotted to them nor even homestead land. Bhoodan lands which were meant to be distributed to landless, are being grabbed by rich and powerful. They suffer from rising unemployment and underemployment. Rural employment guarantee scheme is low on coverage with only 15% of those covered getting 100 days of employment. It has low wages and is high on corruption. Tenant peasants have no right over the land. They get no loans for agriculture, their produce is not purchased by Govt. at MSP and they get no compensation in case of displacement and natural calamities like drought and floods.
Landowning peasants, particularly small and medium, suffer from neglect of agriculture by the Govt., high cost of inputs and relatively lower prices of agricultural produce. They are not able to employ advanced means of cultivation. In major part of the country agriculture continues to be rain fed and carried on by backward means. In areas where capitalist methods of agriculture are being employed on extensive scale, areas of Green Revolution, on the basis of maximum exploitation of soil and water and maximum use of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides, they have led to falling rate of growth with successive increase in inputs leading to lower rate of growth in production while soil and water have become toxic. Indebtedness of peasants is increasing.
Workers are suffering from increased attacks on their jobs and rights. There is increased contractualization of work force even in Govt. departments and organized industries, with low wages and no rights. Job insecurity comes in their way to secure their rights and free unionization is not permitted. In unorganized industries employing nearly 93% of the workers, labour laws are not implemented. There is no job security while social security is absent. Labour law implementation machinery has been trimmed and diverted. Wages of these workers are low, ESI and PF nearly absent. They live mostly in bustees and jhuggis with overcrowding and no basic amenities. Even these are demolished in the name of beautifying cities. Condition of migrant workers is most horrifying.
Mineral wealth of the country is being gifted to foreign and domestic corporate while peasants, mostly tribals, are being forcibly displaced from their land and means of livelihood. No attempt is made to develop education, health, employment opportunities and to provide remunerative prices for forest produce. Tribals’ land, livelihood, habitat and cultural life is being attacked in the name of development while they are forced into menial labour and migrate to far off places for employment. While destroying their means of livelihood, attempt is to absorb them into lowest rung of society, as a source of cheap labour.
Though there are a number of laws, but dalits continue to be exploited and oppressed. They do not have possession over the land for which they had got pattas and even homestead land is not given. They are continuously attacked and their property destroyed if they resist the oppression of landlords. Even higher judiciary sides with landlords in such cases. Dalit girls have to face sexual violence from upper caste henchmen of landlords. Even reservation in Govt. services is not properly implemented while there is no reservation in private sector. Caste chauvinism of upper castes continues to weigh down upon them.
Minorities, particularly Muslims, are subjected to attacks by Hindu communal forces aided by the police and state machinery which is deeply communal. Attacks on Muslims, their lives and property, is part of the game plan of these communal forces for communal polarization in their bid for power as witnessed recently in Muzaffarnagar. So-called secular parties of ruling classes on the other hand do practically nothing to defend lives and properties of minorities, only dole out paltry compensation after the mayhem. They consider that Muslims must vote for them as they profess secularism and they keep leaders of Muslim religious organizations in good humour. These leaders try to keep the Muslim masses insulated from the broad democratic struggle of the people. Educated Muslim youth are being targeted, falsely implicated and incarcerated for long period under the charges of terrorist attacks. Communalization of police and administration comes into the open in every case of violence against minorities. And due to their involvement, it becomes difficult to ascertain the guilty based on police and administrative records. Such has been the case of genocide of Sikhs in 1984 in Delhi and elsewhere and mass killings of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 and many other cases.
Sexual violence against women is increasing and so are increasing protests against them. Patriarchy continues to push women to lower status in society prescribing to them dress codes, behaviour and vocation. Women continue to face inequality and discrimination in families and society, sexual harassment at work place and sexual assaults in rural areas and cities. Negative attitude of the Govt., police, administration and judiciary comes into open display in cases of sexual violence against women. Ruling class parties shout for enhancing punishment to culprits ignoring that even the prescribed punishment is not given to them. Rural poor women, mostly dalits, are common victims of sexual assaults by landlords and their henchmen, even middle class professionals are subjected to attacks, and even by the high and mighty. Women, particularly middle class professionals, are coming forward to lodge their complaints and seek redressal. But the Govt. has formed a law against sexual harassment which is designed to discourage complainants. There is decreasing employment of women particularly in organized sectors.
Rising unemployment is the cause of frustration among the youth. Ruling classes are promoting lumpenization of youth and ruling class politicians, bureaucrats and police officers have been accused of running drug rackets. These parties make youth fodder for their nefarious designs rather than making them contribute to the progress of society and country.
Education, particularly higher education, has gone out of bounds for the children of common people with high fees and other costs of education. Functioning of Govt. schools is deliberately neglected by the Govt. to promote private schools. This dual or multiple education virtually debars wards of common people from professional courses and high jobs. Govt. is tailoring syllabi and curricula of Indian universities to promote the entry of foreign universities in India.
Similarly, health services have been privatized taking them out of the reach of common people. New Govt. hospitals are few while all facilities are being accorded for the private hospitals whose care cannot be availed of by even middle classes leave alone poor masses.
Rise in the prices of essential commodities has been in double digits over the past five years reducing real value of common people’s meagre incomes, pushing common people into malnutrition and related diseases while the producers of these commodities, workers and peasants, are not given the benefit of these high prices, whose profit is pocketed by black marketers, hoarders and big business. Govt. taxes contribute significantly to the high prices of essential commodities, particularly taxes on petroleum products. Even the Govt. has accepted that two thirds of Indian people need support to meet food needs. But the Govt. provision in Food Security Act has been to reduce the entitlements while somewhat increasing coverage. Only Rs. 1,15,000 crores have been marked for operationalizing the FSA while according to reports, Rs. 1,13,000 crores were already being spent under this head.
Corruption in high places has been the identifying mark of the UPA II Govt. in whose tenure many big ticket corruption scandals have been exposed. Commonwealth Games, G2, Allocation of coal blocks, Adarsh Society scam, NHM scam, KG basin scam are just a few among them while several reports have highlighted loot and plunder of mineral resources in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka and Goa. A powerful nexus of ruling politicians, bureaucrats, corporate and even media barons has been busy robbing the country. These exposures have led to widespread anger among people, particularly middle classes. Huge black money of India lies in tax havens and even the names of those holding such huge black money are not disclosed. Black money estimated to be between $1.5 trillion to $3.5 trillion has been taken out of the country.
Besides doling out precious resources, the Govt. has been busy giving freebies to corporate while lamenting the subsidies given to poor. The fact is that the tax rebates given to corporate alone are more than three times the total expenditure on so-called subsidies for the poor i.e. on food, fuel and fertilizers. And these too have been cut.
While the lot of the people is worsening, Govt. is increasing expenditure on instruments of repression. Police and paramilitary forces are the only Govt. services where recruitment is continuing. Expenditure on police, paramilitary and military forces has been continuously enhanced and they are being increasingly used to suppress struggles of the people, particularly revolutionary struggles of peasantry. There is increasing police interference in workers’ struggles and fake criminal cases are routinely foisted against the activists of democratic organizations and participants in democratic struggle. AFSPA continues in Northeast and J&K giving immunity to Army personnel against prosecution for wrongful acts. Govt. and the Army has been opposing the demand for withdrawal of AFSPA.
CPI(ML)-New Democracy’s Call
Ruling class parties are not only responsible for the present abyss, they have no way to come out of this. They stand for more and speedier implementation of the policies which have resulted in the present precarious situation. They want to further open Indian economy to foreign capital, attract FDI at any cost, pursuing FDI led rather than domestic demand led growth model, preserve the semifeudal agrarian relations while promoting imperialist dependent agricultural growth model, keep terms of trade adverse to agriculture and promote profits of MNCs and corporate in seed, fertilizer, pesticide industry, reducing workers’ wages and benefits, privatizing health, education and other basic services, advocating that facilities to corporate will result in increasing production, increasing employment and improving conditions of people. Last over two decades have proved the fallacy of these arguments and now the ruling class parties are repackaging these failed policies. To camouflage the ill effects of these policies they are resorting to half truths and plain falsehoods. People should see their iron claws behind their velvet gloves, their service to enemies of people behind their promises for the people, bankruptcy of their policies behind their clamour of development, their devouring of the common people behind their claims to be the saviours of people.
Ruling Congress is talking of inclusive growth but has implemented policies excluding overwhelming majority of people from growth and making them worse off. BJP is parading Gujarat model of development which is all out service to big capitalists with low wages, forcible displacement of peasants and loot of public exchequer while depressing conditions of poorer sections. Regional parties of ruling classes like Akali Dal, DMK, AIADMK, SP, BSP, RJD, JD(U), Trianmool, AGP, TDP, YSR Congress, TRS, JD(S), BJD, NCP, Shiv Sena, INLD, JMM and revisionist parties like CPM, CPI have no basic differences with main parties of ruling classes on new economic policies and other basic issues. Newly formed AAP too supports corporate. No basic change is expected from these parties.
CPI(ML)-New Democracy places the following agenda before the people of the country.
To address the deep seated economic crisis, basic change has to be brought about in the economic structure. For this the influence of foreign capital from imperialist countries which obstructs the development of productive forces, robs India of mineral resources and cheap labour and dominates our production system and markets, has to be eliminated. The comprador big capitalists of India act as junior partners of imperialist foreign capital which robs the country and its people. The dependence of Indian industry on the machinery imported from these countries has to be eliminated. Export of mineral wealth of the country as well as semi-finished low value goods has to be stopped.
India has the natural resources, technical knowhow, vast labour force and capital resources to pursue independent growth depending primarily on domestic demand. Dependence on foreign capital is not due to lack of these but due to comprador character of our big capitalists. Support to be extended to handicrafts, cottage industries and small industries in terms of market access and loans.
Mineral wealth of the country is to be used only for the needs of the people and all mining agreements with foreign and domestic corporate to be scrapped. Entry of foreign capital is to be barred from different sectors of economy including retail trade, banking, insurance, defense production, telecom, communications, media, basic services and heavy industries etc.
To meet the energy needs of the country, priority to be given to developing sustainable and environment friendly sources which are plentiful in India like solar energy, wind energy, tidal waves etc. Nuclear plants are not be opened and plants based on fossil fuel and coal to be run with strict safeguards ensuring no harmful effects on agriculture and health of the people. Free electricity to be given for domestic use of common people, for agriculture and for handicrafts and cottage industries.
Lot of workers to be improved, their labour rights guaranteed, contractualization to be stopped and they regularized with application of reservation. Provision of low cost good housing to them near place of work. All workers to be extended basic facilities, social security including pension benefits and rights by the Govt. particularly to those in unorganized sectors and even self-employed. Their work is part of national labour deserving recognition and care.
Key to development of the country is development of agriculture in which three fifth of work force of the country is engaged and on which depends the well being of nearly three fourth of the population living in villages. Semifeudal agrarian relations have to be dismantled to free the vast productive forces in the countryside and unleash the real revival of Indian villages. Radical land reforms to be carried out implementing land to the tiller. Immediate possession of patta lands to be given to landless poor who have been allotted pattas. Legal protection to landlords saving their land, holding up vast land in legal disputes and illegal occupation of common lands by them has to end. Liquidation of semifeudal relations in the vast countryside will bring the real change in India and end the domination of this parasitic class in rural areas. Tenant peasants are to be compulsorily recorded and granted ownership rights on landlords’ lands. All landless poor peasants to be provided agricultural land and also homestead land along with adequate money for construction. Wages of agricultural labourers to be increased, their timely payment ensured and all steps to improve their conditions to be taken.
Agriculture has to be helped not only to improve the lot of peasantry, particularly small and medium peasants, but also to develop food security of the country. Indian agriculture can sustain many more than Indian population if Indian agriculture is helped. Costs of inputs to be decreased and modern implements to be provided to small and medium peasants on reasonable rates in the villages by the Govt. run machinery stations. Irrigation to be developed particularly small and medium irrigation projects which do not entail displacement and cause least damage to environment.
Imperialist dependent agricultural growth model to be abandoned and agriculture to be developed based on the concrete conditions of India. Indiscriminate high use of chemicals not to be promoted. Indebtedness of peasantry, particularly small and medium peasants, to be addressed. Their loans are to be waived and measures taken that they do not fall into debt.
Remunerative prices for agricultural produce to be fixed as MSP and Govt. to procure at MSP. MSP to be declared for all agricultural produce and produce purchased by the Govt.
No land to be given to MNCs and no agricultural land to be given for industrialization, real estate business etc. in the name of development. SEZ Act to be repealed.
Special emphasis to be laid on development of villages, on providing all facilities and on bridging the gap between cities and villages. Appropriate industries are to be developed in villages and their communication improved.
Provision of education including higher education, technical education etc. is the duty of the Govt. All children to be provided free and universal, good and scientific education and multiple standards of education to be eliminated. Similarly, Govt. is responsible for providing good health care and to effect that Govt. hospitals should be opened in sufficient number.
Everybody is to be provided essential commodities at cheaper rates. PDS to be strengthened. To check the rise in prices of different commodities indirect taxes to be abolished particularly on petroleum products.
Corruption to be eliminated and rights of all people guaranteed in time bound manner. Assets of corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and corporate to be confiscated. Names of those having accounts in foreign tax havens and NPAs in Indian banks to be made public. Black money to be brought back to the country. Corruption in Govt. schemes is to be eliminated with exemplary punishment to guilty officials.
India suffers from various types of social exploitation, oppression, discrimination and violence. Caste oppression of dalits and backward classes is to be eliminated and those guilty of attacks on them to be promptly and efficaciously punished. Their lands in the illegal occupation of landlords to be restored to them. Non implementation of reservation to be made criminal offence. Reservation to be extended to dalit Christians.
Tribals to have rights over forests and its produce. Their rights for podu cultivation to be granted and remunerative prices for forest produce are to be given. Tribal languages are to be protected and developed. All facilities are to be extended to tribal areas.
Protection of person and properties including land of minorities to be guaranteed. Officials under whose charge attacks on minorities take place and who are found guilty of dereliction of duty to be charged as complicit to violence. Those found guilty of communal discrimination to be removed from police and administration. Job opportunities and bank loans are to be provided to minorities. Protection of their places of worship is to be guaranteed.
Punishment to those guilty of sexual violence is to be ensured. Efficacious laws to prevent and punish sexual harassment at work place are to be enacted and implemented. No need of Govt. sanction to prosecute officials including those of Army in charges of sexual assault. Women to get equal share in paternal and in laws’ property. 50% jobs and seats in all Govt. services and institutions to be guaranteed for women.
Appropriate employment to all youth and unemployment allowance at the rate of living wage to all unemployed. Those guilty of running drug rackets are to be punished. Free travel facilities for job examinations, interviews, tests etc. to be provided.
Good Scientific education to be given to all free of cost. No entry to foreign universities. Opening new and good educational institutions at all levels to fulfill the needs of Indian students and society.
Democratic aspirations of people of all nationalities and regions e.g, J&K, northeast, Gorkhaland, to be respected including their right to self-determination and their democratic rights guaranteed. AFSPA to be repealed.
All black laws including UAPA, NSA etc. to be repealed. Fake cases to be scrapped and those guilty of foisting them to be punished. No police interference in labour disputes. No paramilitary deployment in areas of peasant struggles. No employment of military and paramilitary forces against Indian people. All political prisoners are to be released and ban on revolutionary organizations and mass organizations to be withdrawn. All democratic rights of the people to be guaranteed and their infringement punished.
Arms Act to be abolished and right to carry arms for self-defence to be recognized. People to have right to prosecute police and admn. officials for suppression and illegal imprisonment and no necessity of Govt. sanction for the same. All parochial and archaic laws to be repealed.
Strategic partnership with US imperialism to be scrapped. No participation in PSI, in US led moves directed against other countries. Relations with Zionist Israel to be stopped. Support to all nations’ sovereignty, their struggle against imperialist domination and subversion. India to have an independent foreign policy and stand with third world countries against imperialist dominated present world order.
Friendly relations with all neighbouring countries and no big brotherly attitude towards any of our small neighbouring countries. All attempts at whipping up chauvinist propaganda against neighbouring countries to be rejected and relations of friendship and mutual benefit to be developed.
The present electoral system is flawed and tailored to suit the interests of big capitalists and big landlords and needs to be changed.
Role of money and muscle power to be eliminated.
All officials of the state to be elected by the people.
Any official can be recalled by the people for non-fulfillment of duties, corruption or any anti-people activity.
Parties to be made liable to implement their election promises.
If NOTA votes are more than that of highest polling candidate, the election to be held again and the contesting candidates and their parties to be disqualified for re-election.
Election system to be changed so that support of the people is reflected in the number of elected representatives.
CPI(ML)-New Democracy is placing the above programme before you for the coming parliamentary elections and calls upon you to support this programme by voting and supporting the candidates put up and supported by the Party. Communist revolutionaries alone can implement this agenda and carry forward struggle on this agenda. They alone are the forces of real and revolutionary change. CPI(ML)-New Democracy is committed to this agenda and pledges to carry forward struggle for revolutionary change. Vote and elect Party’s candidates to forcefully raise these issues.
It is obvious that ruling class parties including revisionist parties cannot and do not support these points so vital for people’s interests. Hence, CPI(ML)-New Democracy calls upon you not to be misled by their bogus promises and their talk of change which is to maintain anti-people status quo. So, reject these parties.
March 25, 2014 Central Committee,