CPI(M) protest against Centre’s policies

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member S. Ramachandran Pillai inaugurating a Statewide protest against the Central government’s labour and economic policies in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.   | Photo Credit: S MAHINSHA

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] organised protest meetings across the State on Tuesday, as part of the party’s nationwide protest against the Central government’s labour and economic policies, handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and crackdown on activists.

Some of the major demands of the protest included the provision of 200 days employment under the MGNREGS, increase in wages, extension of employment guarantee scheme to urban areas, unemployment allowance to the jobless, cash transfer of ₹7,500 per month for six months for all families outside income tax bracket, distribution of 10 kilograms of rice for poor families, and reversal of policy of privatisation of the PSUs.

Inaugurating the protest in Thiruvananthapuram, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member S. Ramachandran Pillai accused the Modi government of aiding in the spreading of the virus by announcing an unplanned lockdown, which led to the exodus of millions of migrant workers.

“Even though the Union government announced a stimulus package of ₹20 lakh crore, a lion’s share of it was a repetition of budget packages already allocated. The State governments leading the fight against COVID-19 are not being provided the required funds or even the share of GST belonging to them. Attempts are also being made to curtail the powers of the States. The Centre has used the lockdown period for a massive crackdown using fabricated cases on those who were part of the peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act,” said Mr. Pillai.

CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said while the Kerala government had fought the pandemic with wide participation of the public, in a model lauded across the world, the Centre had given unscientific calls to fight the virus by banging plates and lighting lamps without actual steps to alleviate the sufferings of the people. He said 10 lakh party workers across 2 lakh centres participated in the hour-long protest in the State.

“The Centre is on a corporatisation drive under the cover of the pandemic, by privatising PSUs and suspending labour laws. With daily fuel price increase for the 10th straight day, the Centre is looting the people, even as global crude oil prices have hit rock bottom,” said Mr. Balakrishnan.

He also criticised the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) of speaking in the same voice as BJP on many issues and of refusing to protest against the Centre’s policies.

“Both the Congress and the BJP have tried to misrepresent all of the positive efforts of the State government. They have begun speaking in one voice now. Their approach is only to take the opposite stand of the government in any issue,” he said.

The protests across the State were organised by following all social distancing norms. Each CPI(M) branch committee organised 5 of 6 protests having a handful of people in each.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 4:37:57 AM |

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