CPI(M) promises law on hate speech, scrapping of CAA

The party terms the huge increase in unemployment as the biggest failure of the Modi government

Published - April 04, 2024 10:06 pm IST - New Delhi

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury addresses the media during the release of the party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections 2024, in New Delhi.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury addresses the media during the release of the party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections 2024, in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: ANI

Terming the huge increase in unemployment the biggest failure of the Modi government, the CPI(M), in its manifesto released on Thursday at the party headquarters in Delhi, called for inclusion of “right to work” as a constitutional right.

The Modi government had promised two crore jobs a year. Far from implementing this guarantee, the last five years have actually seen a reduction in jobs, the CPI(M) said. The manifesto quotes the CMIE figures which show that the unemployment rate in August 2023 was 8.1% which is the lowest in six years.

There are an estimated 25 lakh jobs vacant in various government departments and public sector undertakings. The party said that instead of filling these posts, there had been a sharp deterioration with the mass casualisation, contractorisation and informalisation of jobs across the sector. “The vacancies in government and public sector posts must be filled urgently,” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said at a press conference to release the manifesto. The party also wants the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to be strengthened by doubling its budgetary allocation. “A new law guaranteeing urban employment must be legislated,” Mr. Yechury added.

Painting a grim picture of the prevalent political and economic situation, Mr. Yechury said, “There has been no real increase in wages in the last 10 years while price rise continues to eat into meagre earnings of people. Contrary to this, a small section of people has amassed wealth. This has to change. A stronger presence of the Left in Parliament, particularly the CPI(M), is absolutely critical in order to ensure that an alternative pro-people policy direction is adopted by this alternative secular government,” he said.

Hate speech

The 2024 general elections, the party general secretary said, were critical to save India against the effort of the BJP to transform the secular, democratic character of the Indian Republic into a rabidly intolerant, hate and violence-based authoritarian and fascistic Hindutva Rashtra. “There has to be a mandatory separation between religion and politics. The CPI(M) pledges to fight for an uncompromising adherence to the principle that religion is separated from politics, the state, the government and administration. It will fight for a law against hate speech and crimes. It is committed to scrapping the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA),” Mr. Yechury asserted.

The manifesto also talks about revoking all “draconian” laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The manifesto reiterates several demands that the party’s affiliated organisations have been campaigning for, including a statutory minimum wage for workers which is not less than ₹26,000 per month, linking it to the Consumer Price Index. It wants the “New Pension Scheme” scrapped and all “anti-worker and pro-employer amendments to labour laws through four labour codes” revoked.

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