Support the United Platform of Fighting Left in Punjab!
The Akali-BJP Government in Punjab is facing people’s anger for its corrupt and repressive character. However, the Congress too stands deeply discredited thanks to the prevailing anger against the UPA rule at the centre.
In the last 5 years, three BJP Ministers of the Akali-BJP coalition had to be removed on corruption charges. There is widespread dissidence in BJP’s ranks. The Akali Dal has given tickets this time to IAS and IPS officers, NRIs, industrialists and traders, since Sukhbir Badal says “governance is a serious business.” It remains to be seen whether this new profile of leaders touches a chord with the Akali’s traditional Jat-rural base.
The Akali-BJP Government with its corporate style of governance, faced powerful movements and resentment of various sections of people. It has tried for some damage control in the past six months, making calculated concessions to various segments of people, including rural power groups. Yet, there is an underlying resentment in sections of its traditional rural base.
Manpreet Badal, nephew of Prakash Singh Badal, and former Finance Minister in the Akali-BJP regime has broken away to form his own party. An ardent follower of ‘Manmohanomics’, he is now trying to invoke Shaheed-eAzam Bhagat Singh for votes, though he says Bhagat Singh’s (revolutionary left) ideology has no relevance today. After an initial impact, Manpreeet lost most of his team, with many of his powerful lieutenants deserting him. His party has become a refuge for those who failed to get accommodation in the mainstream Akali and Congress. CPI(M) and CPI have allied with Manpreet, in the name of secularism, and are assiduous in projecting Manpreet as a messiah.
CPI(ML) and CPIM Punjab are jointly contesting 13 seats spread over the Malwa, Doaba and Majha region. These two AILC partners have launched a joint campaign, with a joint declaration and manifesto, under the banner of ‘Fighting Left Front.’
The election manifesto of CPI(ML) and CPM Punjab highlights the role of the two parties as a fighting opposition in the last five years, on issues of peasants, agricultural labourers, workers, and unemployed youth. Independently and as part of the platform of seventeen mass organisations, these two fighting left parties have led powerful mass mobilisations and struggles against land grab, for free electricity to agricultural labour, for homestead land, for ending of farmers’ debt, and against draconian laws, forcing the government to concede some demands.
The Akali-BJP Government in Punjab, and the Congress-UPA Government in Delhi have both proved to be the most pro-corporate and anti-people, promoting corruption and corporate plunder as well as repression on all manner of resistance. Manpreet Badal, for his posturing and pretensions, embraced the same neoliberal, pro-corporate policies as Finance Minister.
The manifesto of CPI(ML) and CPIM Punjab has promised to intensify the struggle for the reversal of neoliberal policies in Delhi and Chandigarh; demanding waiving of debt to middle farmers; curbing of farmers’ input costs; implementation of the Swaminathan report on agricultural prices; for restrictions on acquisition of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes; for 10 marla homestead land to agricultural labourers and the landless; for a special grant for education of the children of the latter section; extension of MNREGA to other activities and round-the-year work; check on massive corruption in welfare projects; curbing of prices; reduction of tax on petrol, diesel, LPG; strengthening PDS, and one PDS outlet per 1000 population; implementation of labour laws and end to contract labour; status of Government employees to honorarium-based workers; lifting of ban on recruitment in government and semi-government departments and creating of new vacancies; unemployment allowance; free education and health for all; reversal of privatisation of education, health, transport etc; and against the pollution of environment and soil by big corporates in connivance with the administration.
The joint manifesto calls upon the people of Pubjab to decisively defeat the Akali-BJP and Congress, and make the fighting left platform victorious.