Left promises rice at Rs 2 per kg

Left promises rice at Rs 2 per kg

Left promises rice at Rs 2 per kg
Borrowing a leaf from Trinamool Congress supreme Mamata Banerjee’s books, the Left’s poll manifesto promised rice at Rs 2 per kg, if it returns to power.

Subsidised ration, focussing more on small and medium industries, and restoring democracy are some other promises the Left poll document made. It was, however, significantly silent on the recent “sting operation” embroiling top Trinamool Congress leaders in a controversy.

The Left, which criticised Mamata for resorting to populist schemes like providing subsidised rice and other food grains, however, seemed to have fallen for similar schemes before the polls. The manifesto, released on Sunday evening, promised rice at Rs 2 kg or a weekly quote of 35 kg wheat flour, if the Left came to power. The 16-page poll document also promised to stop hunger deaths, an issue the Left repeatedly denied when in power, besides providing monthly allowance of Rs 2,500 to workers of closed industries.

The manifesto said Mamata failed to “bring in investments”, setting back the industrialisation process started under Left regime. Even though in successive public meetings since December, Left leaders invoked the name of Singur, where Tata Group was to set up a small car factory, the manifesto did not mention such promises. Focussing more on small and medium industries, instead of heavy industries, the manifesto also steered clear off the contentious issue of land acquisition for industries.

Keeping in mind the party’s analysis that forcible land acquisition at Singur and Nandigram between 2006 and 2008 was a major factor in driving the Left out of power, the manifesto talked of taking “cautious steps” and “sincere efforts” to develop understanding between all stakeholders. “Families giving away land will be given profitable value. Initiatives will be taken to give training and employment to one member from each affected family,” it stated, taking into account demands of farmers and land owners at flash points like Singur and Nandigram for better compensation.

While the manifesto asked for “restoration of democracy to the state”, the Left called for “all secular, democratic forces” to come together to fight Trinamool in Bengal and the BJP at the Centre.
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