Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) [KC(M)] chairman K.M. Mani has said that his party is ready to cooperate with the CPI(M) or other political parties to fight for the economic rights of the State.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the CPI(M) as part of its State Plenum on ‘Liberalisation and alternative policies’ at Fort Maidan here on Thursday, Mr. Mani said cooperating with the Opposition parties on issues affecting the people did not mean that the KC(M) was switching sides or changing political fronts. He said the KC(M) always stood for the Centre providing enough economic power to the States to discharge its social and constitutional responsibilities. But the State government got just 33 per cent of the total share of the taxes collected. Though the Constitution provided for 50 per cent of the taxes collected to be given to the States, it was not implemented, he said.
The States were given the huge responsibility of providing health and education to its people. But they were not given enough share of the taxes collected to implement these programmes.
Mr. Mani called for a special session of Parliament to amend the Constitution to provide for more financial powers to the States. He said the Opposition and ruling parties should cooperate in finding solutions to the problems faced by the people.
“In fact, the Opposition is the fifth pillar of democracy after the executive, legislature, judiciary, and Press. In solving Kerala’s economic and other development problems, both the Opposition LDF and the ruling UDF should stand united. They should cooperate in drafting new investment, industrial and labour polices that could help the economic growth of the State,” Mr. Mani said.
He said the globalisation and liberalisation policies had helped only to concentrate wealth in the hands of some people. This cannot be allowed. The poor sections of society should also have access to it. So in such issues, all political parties should cooperate, Mr. Mani said. Inaugurating the seminar, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said there were alternative policies to globalisation and liberalisation.
The neo-liberal policies had reduced the purchasing power of the people thereby bringing more hardship and pauperisation.
To fight against this, there should be powerful mass movement supported by vast sections of the affected people. Such movement had succeeded in Latin American countries where they not only fought against the neo-liberal policies, but also brought political changes to reverse these policies.
In India too, there were opportunities for launching powerful mass struggles with the cooperation of political parties, including regional parties that were opposed to it, the CPI(M) leader said.
The seminar was addressed by former Finance Minister and CPI(M) central committee member T.M. Thomas Isaac.