K.V. Prasad

Will pursue an independent foreign policy

Alternative path of development based on agricultural growth

NEW DELHI: Stepping into the poll arena with the slogan of providing a non-Congress and non-Bharatiya Janata Party alternative, the Communist Party of India (CPI) on Saturday said the new formation should carry forward the “glorious tradition of anti-imperialism, secular polity and independent economic development ensuring economic and social justice to all.”

Taking credit for reducing the impact of global recession on India, the party’s manifesto for the coming Lok Sabha elections promises that the new alternative would reverse the neo-liberal policies and adopt pro-people, pro-development policies which ensure social justice to all.

Party general secretary A.B. Bardhan released the manifesto. Deputy general secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy, and national secretaries Shameem Faizee and D. Raja were present.

Neo-liberal policies

The party said high prices of food items, job losses and unemployment, economic slowdown and growing disparities were the present day reality of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre. These were on account of neo-liberal unregulated free market economic policies and a continuation of the earlier National Democratic Alliance policies pursued by the UPA regime.

The manifesto said the country needed a government that defended the secular democratic fabric, pursued an independent foreign policy and adopted an economic course that ensured a break with neo-liberalism dictated by international finance capital and pursued pro-people economic policies.

It said the country needed an alternative path of development that would be based on agricultural development and employment-oriented industrial growth and push social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, roads and communication.

The party said steps would be taken to universalise elementary education as also scientific and technological education, have a comprehensive health and education programme, implement a massive water management system and prevent privatisation and commercialisation of water resources.

The CPI said it would demand a review of the India-U.S. knowledge initiative on agriculture while implementing land reforms.

Quota to all Dalits

Suggesting that the policy of reservation should be extended to all Dalits including Christians and Muslims, the manifesto also said the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation in Posts and Service) Bill 2008 passed by the government would be scrapped and a new bill introduced. Affirmative action in private sector would also be introduced.

The party said it would strive for judicial reforms and make transfer of judges more transparent. Judges should be required by law to declare their assets at the time of joining and regularly thereafter every year.

The CPI promised to reverse the ‘pro-U.S. tilt’ and said there would be no strategic partnership with the U.S. The party would urge the Sri Lankan government to “stop its military offensive, which is leading to genocide of the Tamil population, and seek a political solution to the Sri Lanka Tamils’ issue based on autonomy for the Tamil majority areas in the north and east within a federal united country.”

It said all humanitarian help should be provided to the suffering people and care taken to see that it reached them directly.