The Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) would jointly campaign for the coming Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh against the neo-liberal policies followed by both the Congress and BJP.

The CPI(M) after its one day State Secretariat meeting at Shimla on Thursday has decided to come out with an exclusive manifesto for the hill State next week. The party has constituted a three member committee comprising of senior leaders Onkar Shad, Tikender Singh and Kuldeep Tanwar to come out with its manifesto with the central slogan of “Reject Congress and Defeat BJP”.

The State Secretariat members, in the absence of State party incharge Mr. A. Vijayaraghavan, who is himself a Loksabha candidate from Kozhikode seat in Kerala, decided to hold constituency wise meetings for the making the separate campaign committees. The party is fighting Shimla (R) and Mandi parliamentary seats with Mr Jagat Ram and Khushal Bhardwaj as respective candidates. The two other seats of Kangra and Hamirpur were given to the CPI. But it has shown reluctance and might not field the candidates, said Roshan Lal Dogra, a senior CPI leader.

The opposition to privatisation of education, health and other essential services and illegal land deals would be the main election campaign issues against both the major parties, said the CPI(M) leader Tikender Panwar.

Interestingly, the Aam Aadmi Party has fielded candidates for the Kangra and Hamirpur seats only and not fighting the Left Front seats of Shimla and Mandi. When questioned whether is it coincidental or intentional, majority political observers are saying that it is not planned but the Congress and BJP activists are calling it deliberate.

Although the politics in the rural hill State is polarised between the two major parties and Third Front wields a very less political space, yet the Left-AAP combine (if it continues) can make the fight triangular to a great extent this time. The Himachal Lokhit Party, a third regional party in the State has already decided not to fight elections and supports the Aam Aadmi Party. There shouldn’t be any division in non-Congress, non-BJP votes this time, said HLP Chief Maheshwar Singh a few days back in Shimla.