“They seem to be competing with each other to eliminate labour laws”
The development models of Haryana and Gujarat are “pro-corporate” and the two States seem to be competing with each other to “eliminate labour laws”, said Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat in the last leg of the party’s Northern Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha march here on Friday.
Referring to the constant tussle between the management and the workers’ unions in the Gurgaon-Manesar automobile industrial belt, Ms. Karat said the situation arose due to the government’s refusal to intervene in time and act clearly in favour of the managements.
“A system is being set up where there is no place for labour laws and trade unions. Minimum wages are not being paid and labourers are being hired on contract on a large scale. Both [Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh] Hooda and [Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra] Modi have pro-corporate development models and are competing with each other to eliminate labour laws. When Modi says ‘India first’, he means the India of Ambanis and not of labourers and farmers,” said Ms. Karat, while talking to The Hindu .
The jatha, which was flagged off at the historic Company Bagh in Amritsar on March 4 and passed through 20 districts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan during the last 12 days, evoked “positive” response, said Ms. Karat, adding that people seemed “disillusioned” and wanted an alternative.
“What I noticed during the jatha march is that people are disenchanted with politics and are looking for an alternative. The blatant loot of public money and resources by the politicians has caused disillusionment among the masses. We received a positive response, especially from the poorer and weaker sections of the society,” said Ms. Karat.
Talking about Haryana, Ms. Karat said that food security, land deals and need for expansion of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act were the major issues in the State.
“The Haryana Government has tried to present a totally false picture on the food security issue by cancelling 1.5 lakh Below Poverty Line [BPL[ cards saying the people did not need them. It is totally far from reality. Similarly, arbitrary change of land use to benefit builders is rampant in the State. Mr. Hooda seems to be acting as a real estate agent and not the Chief Minister. We demand impartial probe into Robert Vadra’s land deals in Haryana and Rajasthan. The 1,700-acre land acquired for Reliance SEZ in Gurgaon should be returned to the farmers. There is a need to expand MNREGA both in Haryana and Rajasthan, but strong lobbies are acting against it,” said Ms. Karat.
Addressing a public gathering at Ramlila Ground here later, Ms. Karat said that the jatha, unlike rath yatras, stood for people’s right to food, education, employment, affordable medical treatment and equal opportunities for all.
All-India Democratic Women’s Association national vice-president Jagmati Sangwan struck chord with the women at the gathering saying that the politics today had vitiated the social atmosphere leading to exploitation of the women and the poor and called for putting up a united fight against such wrong.