At a day-long convention here on Monday, the four Left parties unveiled a policy platform as an alternative to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
A declaration issued at the end of deliberations by leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Bloc has 10 features to provide the ideological glue for a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the Centre.
The deliberations accused both the Congress and the BJP of acquiescing in the demands of business lobbies and foreign capital. But the BJP was more regressive because, as the advent of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi showed, it married the fanning of communal tension with unalloyed free market capitalism, the participants alleged.
Choosing to name only Mr. Modi in the declaration, the Left parties said he symbolised this “reactionary mixture” and his Gujarat model symbolised this path — “pogroms for Muslims and bonanza for the corporates.”
The 10 features in the declaration covered alternative economic policies, defence of secularism and social justice, strengthening federalism and an independent foreign policy.
The first four detailed an economic architecture of land reforms, special attention to the landless, putting more public money into employment generating industries, nationalisation of hydrocarbon resources and an end to disinvestment of state enterprises. They also sought a universal public distribution system.
The declaration lays equal emphasis on the social sector, calling for higher outlay in education and health services, guaranteed implementation of the Right to Education Act, anti-graft measures, one-third reservation for women in Parliament and legislatures, protection of Dalit rights and protection of Fifth and Sixth Schedule rights for Adivasis.
In the cause of the working classes, the Left parties and their potential partners would fight for minimum wages, social security and an end to the contract system.
While the Congress and the BJP were held responsible for many of the ills of the country, the Left accused the latter of not just replicating the Central economic model of graft in Karnataka but also fanning tensions in several Uttar Pradesh towns for the past two years. The Left suspects that the BJP is waiting for the right moment to push its Ram temple agenda in Ayodhya and for scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution, which confers a special status on Jammu & Kashmir.
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said the Left parties would conduct a political campaign to mobilise support for their platform.