Glad that the Communist parties were fighting the elections independently for the first time in Tamil Nadu based on alternative policies, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat was confident that the fight for the policies (for all sections) would increase the strength of the Left in the Lok Sabha.
Campaigning for the party’s North Chennai candidate, U. Vasuki, on Saturday night, Mr. Karat said the change in government must also mean a change in policies. That was why the Left parties had set out alternative policies for workers, peasants, agriculture workers and all sections of the working people.
He said the Left policies were finding greater support among the people. All trade unions of the country demanded that there be a statutory minimum wage of Rs.10,000, linked to the cost of living index. This was also linked to the question of a minimum pension of Rs. 4,000 for all old people, irrespective of their profession. It could be higher, but the minimum should be Rs. 4,000.
When it came to policies, the Congress and the BJP were no different. Predicting the worst electoral defeat for the Congress in the State and in the country, he said the Congress had cut subsidies meant for the ordinary people so as to grant about Rs. 21 lakh crore in tax concessions to corporates, making them super-rich.
Besides the communal pogrom, the other aspect of the Gujarat model was to give big corporates free land, electricity and tax concessions. The Chief Minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, enjoyed the unanimous support of big corporates, and the BJP was worse than the Congress in implementing the neo-liberal policies, he said.
Mr. Karat was also critical both the DMK and the AIADMK for their political opportunism in the past, going with either the Congress or the BJP to serve their narrow interests.