The Rajasthan Loktantrik Morcha, comprising five different political parties with supposedly similar ideologies, unveiled its poll strategy for the coming assembly elections in the form of an Alternative Policy Document on Sunday in Jaipur.
Four political parties-the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India(Marxist), Janata Dal (Secular) and the Samajwadi Party-had come together last month to form the Rajasthan Loktantrik Morcha, a common front aspiring to take on the Congress and the BJP in the coming state assembly elections.
On Sunday, at the RLM's joint political convention, the Janata Dal (United) also joined the front.
The RLM's policy document-meant to represent a non-Congress, non-BJP, secular, worker-farmer-people friendly alternative-was unveiled in the presence of CPI leader A.B. Bardhan, CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat, SP state president Pandit Ramkishan, CPI(M) legislator Amraram, JD(S) leader Arjun Detha, JD (U) national secretary Javed Raza and CPI state secretary Tara Singh Siddhu among others.
“Over the last nine and half years, the Congress-led UPA government's policies have led to the skyrocketing of prices and essential services, privatisation of Public Sector Enterprises, plundering of natural resources and unprecedented corruption,” said CPI leader A.B.Bardhan.
Mr. Bardhan said the BJP had not presented any alternative to the Congress and similar neo-liberal policies were pursued by the NDA when they were in power.
“But we should not just aim at stopping the Congress or the BJP. People want to know what kind of an alternative we can present,” he said.
Taking potshots at Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's recent “puppy” remarks, Mr. Bardhan said “had it been 2,000 puppies, Mr. Modi's car would have upturned”.
“He says he is proud to be a Hindu nationalist. So should a Muslim stand up and say he is a Muslim Nationalist? Should nationalism be defined along religious lines?” he asked.
The BJP had given all power to one man and wanted to fight a democratic battle on that one-man principle.
The RLM leaders, keeping in mind the likelihood of the Bharatiya Janata Party returning to power, focused most of their attack on the BJP, its leader Vasundhara Raje and her ongoing Suraaj Sankalp Yatra.
“During this yatra, Vasundhara Raje is talking to people about issues like water, electricity and roads. During her last yatra (2003 Parivartan Yatra), she did not talk about policies and issues,” said SP state president Pandit Ramkishan.
“She went among Gujjars and said she was their samdhin (in-law); then she went among the Jats and said she was their daughter-in-law; and among Rajputs, she said she was their daughter. When she came to power, Gujjars thought they would easily get reservation since their samdhin was in power, but 72 Gujjars died during her rule,” he said.
The leaders expressed hope that the RLM would inspire progressive, secular and pro-people forces in other states to come together as well.
The RLM's constitution is a significant move and needs to be seen in the broader context of talks of a third/federal front at the national level by several regional parties and the divorce between the Janata Dal (United) and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.