CPI(ML) Manifesto for the 14th Lok Sabha Elections

Two Indias stand face to face in the present elections. Their India and our India.
They orchestrate a genocide in Gujarat and bask in its ‘glory’. They squander our money to celebrate a grand ‘feel good’ festival when we count starvation deaths. When we demand jobs, they talk about the share market and dollar reserves. When we call for a central legislation for agricultural labourers, they talk about making laws to make temples. When we complain about the sheer lack of potable water, they slash prices of foreign liquor.
When we ask them to stop Bush and Blair from ravaging Iraq, they discuss American proposals to set up military bases in India. They want us to forget Bhagat Singh and worship Savarkar who had surrendered before the British and called for militarising Hinduism and Hinduising India.
It is nothing short of a total war on us. They want to take away all our rights and loot all our resources. And they want us to applaud them as they reduce us to rightless citizens in their India.
This design must be foiled. This audacity has to be punished.
The forthcoming election is all about meting out an exemplary punishment to the enemies of the people. It is all about saving our India from their clutches. India that our martyrs dreamt of and died for cannot be allowed to be hijacked and vandalised by the demolition squads of the RSS.

NDA Indicted:
Chargesheet before the People’s Court

Charge No. 1
Modi’s Maneater Regime and Gujarat Genocide: NDA’s Worst Crime against India

In 1999, the BJP went to the electorate with a coalition and an agenda that supposedly excluded the issue of Ayodhya. In real life, the issue of Ayodhya was raked up almost every year and the government threw its entire weight behind the temple construction campaign. And when the accumulated violence of the Ayodhya campaign was unleashed in a state-sponsored genocide in Gujarat the world shuddered in horror to see shadows of the infamous holocaust in Hitler’s Germany.
Within a matter of hours and days more than 2,000 Muslims were killed, thousands of Muslim families were rendered homeless, property worth hundreds of crores of rupees was reduced to ashes, and glorious symbols of Gujarat’s rich cultural mosaic were destroyed with savage barbarity. And all this happened under the benign protection of or even in open partnership with the state. Even as the whole world demanded immediate ouster of the killer Modi regime and a visible enforcement of justice, the Vajpayee government backed Modi as the country’s best chief minister and anti-Muslim persecution continued in matters of relief and justice.
And like vultures swooping down on the dead, the poll managers of the BJP pressed for early elections to ride back to power by cashing in on the impact of the genocide. When the Election Commission under the erstwhile CEC JM Lyngdoh turned down the BJP’s plea, the BJP even denounced the commission’s decision as part of a grand Christian conspiracy against Gujarat’s ‘pride’!
This time round, the BJP would of course like us to forget Gujarat. But can we ever forget Gujarat till the killers are brought to book? Can we forget Gujarat when the maneaters of Sangh Parivar are working overtime to replicate the Gujarat ‘experiment’ in other parts of the country? Let this election pass an unequivocal verdict against the Vajpayee government for its biggest crime against the country – the genocide in Gujarat.

Charge No. 2
Fratricidal Clashes in the North-East: BJP’s Politics of Divide and Rule

If Gujarat revealed the ugliest face of the Sangh Parivar’s politics of communal aggression, the growing inter-tribal clashes in the North-East bear testimony to the BJP’s sinister politics of divide and rule. The BJP these days pretends to be a strong votary of federalism. Since it does not enjoy an independent majority of its own and has to rely on a coalition to hold on to power, it pursues its agenda of a hard state behind a federal smokescreen. Selective creation of small states, selective accords with militant organisations and a much-proclaimed commitment to the so-called coalition dharma are the three principal ploys employed for this purpose.
While three new states were created, the government did nothing to address, let alone resolve, the special problems arising out of the bifurcation of the concerned parent states. In the case of Uttarakhand, the NDA even distorted the name of the new state as Uttaranchal even though in the case of Jharkhand it had to abandon its bid to impose the name of Vananchal. At the same time the Vajpayee government kept deliberately quiet about the other demands for statehood even as it signed a number of cease-fire agreements with militant organisations in the North-East without addressing any of the basic issues underlying the autonomy movements in the region.
Obviously the government’s design has been to split these movements and create disharmony and even engineer inter-tribal clashes so that the BJP can fish in the troubled waters of the North-East and advance its sectarian agenda. The cease-fire accord with the Nagas created an unprecedented unrest in Manipur, and the accord with the Bodos, a plains tribe in Assam, which sought to recognise them as a hills tribe while denying the long-standing and constitutionally sanctioned demand of the hill districts for an Autonomous State under Article 244A has left the Assam hills simmering. The climate in the hill districts has also been vitiated by unprecedented fratricidal clashes between Dimasas and Hmars and Karbis and Kukis.
The Sangh has also been trying hard to divide every tribe and adivasi community on the basis of religion, especially by raising an anti-Christian storm over the issue of religious conversion. With the adivasis thus divided, the Sangh has found it easy to use sections of them as cannon-fodder for its politics of communal and ethnic cleansing while systematiclly evicting adivasis from their traditional homelands and denying them their traditional rights and access to forests and other natural resources.

Charge No. 3
POTA and Hard State for Indian People,
Genuflection before American Masters

The NDA government has been pursuing a combination of home and foreign policies that has proved out and out anti-people and anti-India. While its ‘home’ policy revolves around state repression and communal aggression, its foreign policy is predicated upon antagonism with neighbours and subservience to American hegemonism. The calculated election-eve normalisation of relations with Pakistan cannot obscure the fact that even after Kargil the NDA government had nearly pushed India to the brink of another war and that in the name of coercive diplomacy it made the country suffer unprecedented financial and military costs.
In the wake of 9/11, the government lost no time to extend total support to the Bush-led global war on freedom, and accelerate its drive for reshaping India on the lines of what Advani calls a hard state. An emergency joint session of Parliament was convened to push through the draconian act called POTA.
As a country which had to suffer two centuries of brutal colonial rule, India should have stood by the people of Afghanistan and Iraq in opposing the US-led invasion and occupation of their countries. Yet the Vajpayee government shamelessly sided with the Anglo-American imperialist powers and earned global disrepute for India as a defender of imperialist aggression. In the case of Iraq, the government was however compelled under tremendous public pressure to adopt a parliamentary resolution condemning the war and also to refuse Indian troops to US-occupied Iraq.
The US hegemonists consider India and South Asia a crucial theatre for their global war on freedom. And as a loyal ally of the US-led imperialist axis, the Vajpayee government has been only too willing to allow the American masters to use India in every possible way. This is the real truth of the new-found ‘strategic partnership’ between New Delhi and Washington. The NDA government has also started forging a special relationship with Israel. This policy of befriending Israel and facilitating American intervention in South Asia has only deepened India’s alienation from all her close neighbours and traditional Arab allies.
The American agenda of building a global empire by expanding its economic and military domination as well as its poltical and cultural hegemony provides an ideal environment for the Sangh Parivar to pursue its own agenda of reshaping India as a Hindu Rashtra. And to this end, both the Bush brigade and the Sangh Parivar use the common technique of demonisation of Islam and communism – with the only difference that while the US targets a whole range of countries from Palestine, Iraq and Iran to Cuba, North Korea and China, the Sangh’s agenda is directed externally against Pakistan and China and internally against Muslims and other minority communities and revolutionary communists.

Charge No. 4
Vajpayee Raj: A Retrograde Regime of Horror and Hunger

In 1999, the BJP and the NDA had talked about elimination of fear, hunger and corruption. Today fear, hunger and corruption have become the three cardinal hallmarks of their regime. Even as they book more and more innocent people – from 12-year olds to octogenarians – under the draconian POTA they have arrogated to themselves the ‘right’ to rule by terror. In Gujarat they used terror to win elections and now they are using the Gujarat threat to ‘win Muslim hearts’! The terrorist organisations of the Sangh Parivar have been given a free hand – there is no POTA for the Parivar – to strike terror and intimidate every voice of intellectual dissent.
Large parts of rural India are stalked by hunger. Almost every Indian province now has its own starvation zone. The shame of Kalahandi has truly been nationalised with starvation deaths being reported from all corners. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has also noted that more than 20 per cent people in India suffer from acute and chronic hunger. If India’s hungry were to be treated as a separate nation, they would be the fourth largest in the world.
Under the Vajpayee regime, per capita food availability has dipped to a level last seen during the food shortage era of the 1960s and in some ways during the famine years of the 1940s. Between 1997-98 and 2000-01, the annual foodgrains consumption of an average family of four members dropped by as much as 93 kg. Yet foodgrains stocks weighing more than 63 million tonnes have been rotting in FCI godowns. At the height of misery in rural Andhra Pradesh in 2002, the government exported rice at Rs. 5.45 a kg while extorting nothing less than Rs. 6.40 a kg from the hungry. This killer regime must go.

Charge No. 5
Scams Galore: Whatever Happened to the Promise of Probity?

The Vajpayee government has exposed itself to be a regime of sordid scams. Corruption has been reigning supreme in almost every area of official transaction, whether relating to defence purchases or disinvestment. Key ministers, senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and top leaders of the BJP and NDA allies have been found to be directly involved in these scams, at times even on television camera. If and when the lid goes off the ‘mysterious’ murder of young engineer Satyendra Dube who had complained about large-scale loot in the Prime Minister’s ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ project we may well get to know about yet another mega scam surrounding the biggest infrastructure project of post-colonial India.
The scams do not just mean ruling politicians receiving kickbacks from sundry quarters, what we are witnessing is a massive loot of the public exchequer and also of the hard-earned savings of the working people and the middle classes as witnessed in the UTI US-64 scam. As for the pilferage of funds allocated in the name of various development projects, Sangh ideologues themselves estimate that of every rupee allocated by the Centre hardly ten paise reach the declared destination. In five years the BJP has truly surpassed the Congress record of fifty years!
The Scam-tainted Vajpayee government of course never showed the courage to pass the long-promised Lokpal legislation which we were told would also cover allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers. In fact, the government defied every norm and every institution to whitewash each of these scams. When the Comptroller and Auditor General questioned some of the disinvestment deals, the disinvestment minister smugly dismissed it as ‘idiotic’.
Meanwhile the rot continues to spread through every pore of the system as witnessed in the still unfolding Telgi stamp paper scam. The extent of the rot became evident in Gujarat when a television channel showed how easily one could buy an arrest warrant for even the President of India!

Charge No. 6
The ‘Development’ Hype: India Slips to 127th Rank in Human Development Index

Today the BJP clearly does not have the guts to return to the electorate on its previous plank of elimination of fear, hunger and corruption. It is therefore trying to hoodwink the people by creating a massive hype over what it calls ‘development’. Advani even says that India is all set to become a superpower.
What are the BJP’s chosen parameters? Roads, mobile phones, gas connections… Well, the roads they are talking about are roads connecting the metros and state capitals, roads built with foreign collaboration that would play host to luxury cars and bypass much of real India. In rural India 1.6 lakh villages are still unconnected by all-weather roads. And telephones, mobile or otherwise, are of course part of a global telecommunication revolution and their numbers are increasing in every part of the world.
Surely, the country does not need a government merely to enable affluent consumers to buy the goods of their choice. The market is sufficient for that. Democracy is supposed to be government of the people, for the people, by the people. The Vajpayee version of democracy means only government of the market, for the market, by the market.
We need a government primarily to direct public investment to the social sectors and to areas of basic production so that the country can meet the essential needs of the common people. We need a government first of all to eliminate hunger and mass poverty, create employment guarantees for the unemployed, and provide compulsory education and basic health care to all. The government is conspicuously silent about these basic parameters that concern the everyday existence of the overwhelming majority of Indians. But the world knows that however much Advani may boast about making India a superpower, in terms of the UNDP’s human development index, India has actually slipped from rank 124 to 127 in the past few years.

Charge No. 7
Jobless Growth, Jobsnatcher Regime: Bullets and Riots for Jobseekers

A few years ago, in his Independence Day address to the nation, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had promised to create one crore jobs a year. For the more than 15 crore jobless in the country – the registered unemployed, whose number would soon swell to 5 crore, are estimated to be no more than 28 per cent of the total unemployed – Vajpayee has promised jobs, but produced only jokes.
When recently the railways announced some 20 thousand vacancies for some of the lowest paid railway jobs, nearly 7,50,000 people, including postgraduates, engineers and MBA degree holders, rushed to apply. It was this crisis that even led to sectarian regional clashes between Assam and Bihar. Immigrant workers and jobseekers who are forced to migrate outside their own states are faced with growing harassment and insecurity. Young people aspiring to become army jawans have to risk their lives even as they queue up for recruitment. There have already been several cases of police gunning down jobseekers queing up for army recruitment in the name of controlling ‘unruly mobs’.
On the basis of some statistical manipulation, the government claims that if not one crore, nearly 84 lakh jobs have been created. But where are these jobs? In 2001, 1.69 lakh placements were effected by the employment exchange network. In other words, at this rate it will take nearly 250 years for just the present backlog to get cleared. Employment in the organised sector is sharply declining – the government’s own economic survey admits to 4.5 million organised sector ‘job-shedding’ since 1997. Over the last decade or so, the railways department alone has reduced its workforce by nearly one million. IT-enabled services have of course provided some jobs – but here too supply far exceeds demand and soon there will be more IT jobseekers than IT jobholders.
The unemployment situation is most acute in the countryside. Output and employment in agriculture are growing at a rate significantly lower than the population growth rate. The rate of growth of rural employment dropped from 2.03% between 1987-88 and 1993-94 to 0.58% between 1993-94 and 1999-2000. Let us not forget that agriculture is India’s biggest traditional employer with two out of every three Indians still depending on agriculture for employment. But today it is agriculture which is throwing up more unemployed while relatively labour-intensive industries are either closing down or resorting to labour-displacing modernisation.
Unless this problem of unemployment is tackled on a war footing, India can only head towards social disaster. A government which only goes on adding new batallions to the growing army of the unemployed has no right to exist. The right to work must be incorporated into the constitution as a fundamental right and bringing about a drastic reduction in unemployment must become the principal thrust of the country’s economic policy.

Charge No. 8
For NDA, India Is Just a Piece of Real Estate

The Vajpayee government of course cannot claim ‘credit’ for introducing the new economic policies, the LPG agenda of Liberalisation (a euphemism for unbridled domination of the market), Privatisation (sheer robbery and loot of public property) and Globalisation (Americanisation or reduction of India into an outpost of the American Empire). Historically, the credit of course goes to the Narsimha Rao government of the Congress which wanted us to believe that the new economic policies were the ideal Congress answer to the BJP’s communal agenda. But today the BJP ‘leads’ in terms of implementation of the LPG agenda.
The BJP and the Congress have no fight over the direction of the economic policy. And this essential agreement in terms of direction leaves little meaning in their argument over the pace and manner of economic reforms. The BJP has accelerated the pace of the economic policies introduced by the Congress. The continuity and change can be graphically understood with reference to the issue of disinvestment. The Congress first mooted the idea and initiated the process, the United Front government then set up a disinvestment commission and now the NDA has got a cabinet minister to sell public sector shares.
The BJP’s swadeshi pretension is now clearly a thing of the ancient past. The NDA government has also beaten all previous regimes in terms of opening up every sector of the economy to foreign capital. Foreign multinationals can today easily grab majority shares in almost any industry including the so-called core sectors or areas of strategic significance. The oil sector provides an ominous example. The US may have had to invade and ocupy Iraq to gain control over Iraq’s fabled oil reserves. In India, the Vajpayee government keeps handing over every aspect of the country’s oil economy to foreign MNCs on a platter. For the NDA government, India today is just a piece of real estate.

Charge No. 9
Industrial Closure and Agrarian Crisis:
Twin Gifts of ‘Feel-Good’ Fraudsters

To extend the new economic policies to the realm of agriculture, the NDA government has announced its new agricultural policy. In tune with the WTO agreements the agriculture market has also been thrown open for imports while subsidies are being phased out. Land reforms are being reversed and a drive has been launched to ‘corporatise’ Indian agriculture. The first steps in this direction are already being taken and the result is there before all of us. The entire agriculture sector is reeling under a grave and unprecedented crisis. Thousands of farmers have been driven to death and the government never even batted an eyelid. And now we have this propaganda barrage about the ushering in of a second green revolution with fancy terms like kisan credit cards, kisan channel on the television and a helpline for distressed farmers!
It must be understood that the first green revolution has not just petered out or run into a temporary crisis, it has collapsed in its own strongholds. The agrarian crisis today is most pronounced in Punjab. Agriculturally ‘advanced’ areas today lead the country in terms of farmers’ suicides. The main reason why green revolution could not be sustained lay in its narrow base. In the three decades of green revolution foodgrains production surely increased manifold, but successive governments did not bother to develop a functional home market for foodgrains even though India has the world’s largest concentration of starving and underfed people. The prosperity generated during the three decades of green revolution did not spread. There was neither any social ‘trickling down’ nor any geographical dispersal of any consequence.
What agriculture today needs is a massive dose of public investment, immediate completion of land reforms and an extensive and effective system of assured procurement and public distribution of foodgrains . Then only can modern farming develop on a broader basis and can in turn create a foirmidable home market for all articles of mass consumption. Instead, the government is further narrowing down the base of agricultural development and destroying even the limited gains that had resulted from the green revolution by jeopardising the very framework of food securtity.
A policy regime that destroys agriculture and demolishes industry – more than six lakh industrial units are today lying sick and closed – can never bring about economic development through computers and mobile phones. A government which takes pride in auctioning public property and knows only the language of shares and dollars to communicate with people who are demanding jobs and minimum wages is an unmitigated economic liability for the country. The country must shed this burden as soon as possible.

Charge No. 10
Social Sectors: Robbing the Poor to Pamper the Rich

The Vajpayee government has all along claimed that it wants to get out of the economy so that it can pay more attention to the social sectors. The disinvestment proceeds, we have often been told, would be directed to crucial social sectors like education and health. But there has been little increase in the central government outlay for health and education. Again within the sphere of education, the government is making higher education increasingly expensive on the plea that this would enable the government spend more on primary education. But what do the facts say?
Illiteracy continues to be as high as 34.6%. In 2002-03, nearly 20% of the estimated population of 193 million in the age group 6-14 years did not attend school. And the drop-out rate at primary level remains as high as 40%. This surely does not reflect any extraordinary emphasis on primary education on the part of the NDA government. In fact, the major government moves in the realm of education marked a totally different agenda – wholesale saffronisation and commercialisation of education.
Tampering with school curriculum, revision of history textbooks, introduction of astrology in university curriculum, and purging of liberal progressive academics from premier research institutions and systematic induction of pro-RSS academics of dubious standards in those slots – this really has been the BJP’s educational agenda for the country. The universities are now being sought to be privatised and students from ordinary households are threatened with full-scale exclusion from the arena of higher education, but the government is prepared to subsidise IIMs to produce management experts for big corporations.
The health sector too tells a similar story of systematic neglect. The elite are able to get the best quality medical treatment and care in private hospitals with ultramodern facilities, but there is no health care system worth the name for the working people and the middle classes. Not even a quarter of India’s households have access to safe drinking water and toilets. The network of primary health centres exists mostly on paper and the rural poor are left to be killed by perfectly preventable and curable diseases like malaria and gastro-enteritis. Whatever system of government hospitals had been built in the initial decades after independence is now being systematically weakened to drive the people away to the private healthcare market.
While coming down heavily on the rights of the workers of the orgnised sector, especially government and other public sector workers and employees, the government wants to camouflage its anti-worker character by making empty election-eve announcements about improving the lot of unorganised workers. The so-called social security scheme announced in the name of unorganised workers is a complete eyewash which does not offer any legal entitlement to the workers.

CPI(ML)’s Commitment:
For a Powerful People’s Movement on an Alternative Agenda

The Sangh Parivar and the BJP and the NDA are certainly not operating in a vacuum. The biggest facilitator for the BJP has of course been the Congress, with its long and continuing record of bankruptcy and betrayal. From Bhagalpur to Bhopal and Ayodhya to Ahmedabad, the Congress credential on the crucial question of secularism has been increasingly suspect and shameful. And in terms of economic and foreign policies, it is of course futile to expect the Congress to reverse the pro-imperialist direction which was initiated by the party itself.
In fact, in terms of economic policies, all state governments in the country today, including the CPI(M)-led ones in West Bengal and Tripura, are more or less following the same direction and pattern. Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Karnataka are ruled by three different parties and all the three governments advertise themselves to be hi-tech regimes, but the hi-tech gloss cannot suppress the stark reality of farmers’ suicides and starvation deaths.
Corruption is another big leveller for most parties in power. Parties like the SP in UP and the RJD in Bihar which claim to be champions of secularism and social justice excel in competitive criminalisation and anti-poor anti-women violence in their respective domains. A party like the BSP which secured a significant following in UP with a strong rhetoric against Brahminism sells tickets to feudal-mafia elements to win seats and repeatedly allies with the BJP to come to power. In Tamil Nadu, the DMK and AIADMK and their smaller allies take their turns to collaborate with the BJP at the Centre.

CPI(ML) Stands for a Bold and Comprehensive Popular Resistance

This all-pervasive political opportunism has generated an environment of public cynicism and the BJP has been the biggest beneficiary of this sordid state of affairs. To deliver a real blow to the BJP it is imperative to wage a ruthless battle against opportunism and hold high the revolutionary banner of communist ideology. The CPI(ML) has always been firm on this score and it has been working with great ideological vigour for a rejuvenation and expansion of the communist movement which alone can ensure a real crushing defeat for the forces of fascism and imperialism.
The new economic policies have trapped the working people and the small producers in a state of acute insecurity and crisis. The Sangh Parivar is working overtime to channelise the resultant frustration and anger of the masses in favour of its communal, divisive and obscurantist agenda and jingoistic outcries. The task before all sincere anti-fascist anti-imperialist forces is to direct this anger against the real enemies of the people and transform it into a formidable force for social transformation.
The CPI(ML)-led mobilisation and assertion of the oppressed rural poor provides a powerful platform of people’s resistance to the Sangh’s fascist campaign and pro-imperialist economic policies. The recent formation of a powerful all India organisation of agricultural labourers and growing countrywide cooperation among peasant associations and farmers’ organisations against WTO and the agrarian crisis have broadened the arena of this resistance.
In the parliamentary arena the lone CPI(ML) MP from Assam and the Party MLAs in Bihar and Jharkhand have always been highly alert and active in defending people’s rights and opposing fascist and imperialist designs. They have also been playing an outstanding role on the development front, in terms of utilisation of MP/MLA development funds and implementation of local area development schemes as well as leading popular struggles against bureaucratic lethargy and corruption.
Combining all forms of struggle and utilising every forum of mass intervention, the CPI(ML) has always taken prompt political initiative on every important issue facing the people and the country. Apart from intensifying the continuing struggle for land reforms, wages and employment, and human dignity and people’s rights, in the recent past the Party has organised powerful protest movements on issues relating to the Gujarat genocide, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, POTA and state repression, oppression and massacres of rural poor and attacks on women, privatisation and denial of workers’ rights, commercialisation and saffronisation of education, and many other vital concerns of the people.
Revolutionary vigour and consistency, powerful mass assertion and bold initiatives have been the three cardinal characteristics of the CPI(ML) in Indian politics. We are determined to strengthen this identity of the Party. We are aware of the challenges ahead and we need all your support and participation to meet them successfully.

For an Uncompromising People’s Movement on a Basic Democratic Agenda

Certain issues and concerns have gained particular prominence in Indian politics over the last one decade or so. In 1989 VP Singh had become Prime Minister on an anti-corruption platform, even though today he himself has started trivialising the importance of the struggle against corruption. In 1997 the special session of Indian parliament commemorating the Golden Jubilee of the country’s independence had called for ending criminalisation of politics. But since then we have had more and more criminals becoming not only MLAs and MPs but also ministers; and the nexus between state power and feudal, communal and mafia violence has become all the more open and brazen.
The fact that not a single corrupt politician has been punished by the system does not make corruption a non-issue. The fact that today there are more criminals in politics must not make us treat politics as a criminal profession. The present situation only underlines the need to wage a more vigorous and consistent struggle against corruption and criminalistion, and this in turn demands greater political participation of the oppressed and working people as well as the intelligentsia.
Social justice has been another popular slogan of the 1990s, but it is generally conceived in the restricted sense of reservation. Today with government jobs shrinking and a small creamy layer cornering most benefits of reservation – the NDA government has in fact raised the income ceiling for identification of the creamy layer from Rs. 1,00,000 to 2,50,000 – the slogan is liable to lose its meaning for a whole lot of people. Also, the continuing anti-poor violence in states like Bihar and UP, where hundreds of people, men as well as women, old as well as young and even children, belonging mostly to dalit-backward-Muslim families have been butchered by private armies and the police, exposes the paradoxical perpetuation and even consolidation of social injustice behind the veneer of social justice. Naturally, the battle for social justice today has to be waged on a more meaningful basis, as part and parcel of the bigger battle for social transformation, and the creamy layers have to be prevented from hijacking the slogan and cornering its benefits.
Like social justice, a whole range of forces swear in the name of secularism, but the secular-communal divide has turned out to be one of the most shifting lines in contemporary politics. Many of the forces who had opposed the BJP a decade ago during Advani’s first rath yatra and the subsequent demolition of the Babri Masjid demolition were busy sharing power with the BJP and even defending the Narendra Modi regime in the wake of the genocide in Gujarat. This only teaches us about the futility of treating a formal commitment to seculrism as the defining attribute of a political force. Real secularism is inseparable from democracy, and an undemocratic force can never be secular.
While political coalitions have been made and unmade over the issues of corruption, social justice and secularism, the last fifteen years or so have witnessed a massive market-oriented shift in economoic policies leading to increased social inequality and regional disparity in the country. Time and again, trade unions and other mass organisations have gone on strikes and other major agitations against the policies imposed in the name of IMF, World Bank and WTO. Yet these concerns have often been brushed aside as mere ‘economic issues’ and never given any real political priority by any of these coalitions.
We are of the firm opinion that all these basic concerns of the people and the country cannot be compartmentalised. Nor can the people’s agenda be reduced to a single concern to the exclusion of all other basic concerns of the people. Democrcay is indivisible and non-negotiable, and all the basic concerns of the people and the burning issues of a period must be addressed as integral parts of a democratic agenda.
For the 14th Lok Sabha elections, we hereby declare our firm commitment to the following core agenda:


Countless leaders and activists of the CPI(ML) have braved all kinds of repression and even laid down their lives to carry forward the battle for a modern, democratic and progressive India. Hundreds of our comrades are currently implicated and arrested under false charges whether in BJP-ruled Jharkhand or RJD-ruled Bihar or SP-ruled UP and several of our candidates are in fact forced to fight these elections from inside jails. But we can assure you that repression and enemy attacks shall never deter the inheritors of the great martyrs of India’s freedom movement and the communist movement. The CPI(ML) is determined to stop the marauding march of fascist forces and imperialist agents and win the battle of democracy and radical social trasnformation against all odds.

We appeal to you to strengthen the CPI(ML) with your valuable votes and send more CPI(ML) representatives in the 14th Lok Sabha so that the party can play a stronger and more decisive role at this crucial juncture of our national life.

Vote CPI(ML)!
Save India from Fascist and Imperialist Clutches!
Intensify the Battle for Democracy and Social Transformation!