Calling for the defeat of the Narendra Modi government that unleashed a "vicious authoritarian onslaught" on the country, the CPI(M) on Thursday released its manifesto calling for ensuring right to work, scrapping sedition law and Aadhaar for social welfare schemes, an urban job guarantee scheme and removal of RSS personnel appointed in key positions.
Asking people to give a mandate for the establishment of an alternative secular government that defends Constitutional values, the party's manifesto also sought a reversal in the economic policies and wanted reservation for Dalits in private sector jobs and educational institutions, taxing the rich, bringing back wealth and inheritance taxes and barring further dilution of government equity in banks and PSUs.
A law against lynching and immediate banning of private armies and vigilante groups, stopping bulk surveillance by central agencies replacing the controversial Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA) with a law devoid of "draconian" provisions, abolishing death penalty and criminal provisions of defamation as well as National Security Act are also part of the manifesto.
It also wanted to “curb monopolies that use either telecom such as Jio/Airtel/Vodafone or internet service platforms such as Google, Facebook”.
Ending private health insurance while ensuring right to health, enforcing farmers' right to sell their produce at a minimum support price that is at least 50% higher than the cost of production and 35 kg of good grains per family are among other highlights of the manifesto.
"India has no dearth of resources. If the current loot of our resources through crony capitalism and corruption, scams like Rafale deal are plugged, then enough resources are there for providing every citizen with education, quality health care, jobs and a decent livelihood," CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said releasing the manifesto.
He said the Modi government has mounted a "brazen" assault on all Constitutional authorities and is promoting "unprecedented sharpening of communal polarisation. "The continuation of the BJP government will further undermine the fundamental pillars of our Constitution," he said.
“The BJP is aggressively sharpening communal polarisation over contentious issues like temple construction, renaming of public spaces by removing Muslim names, generating an atmosphere of hatred and violence targeting minorities,” he said.
The manifesto said it aims at restoring Planning Commission, which was scrapped by Modi government, increase public investments in agricultural production, favour production of goods for mass consumption instead of unsustainable luxury goods and halting the process of issuing fresh licences for banks in private sector.
The CPI(M) also wants a complete halt to disinvestment and privatisation of profit-making and potentially viable PSUs and prohibition of FDI in retail sector.
On defending secularism, the CPI(M) said it would work towards purging textbooks of content reflecting communal bias and prejudices and bring a law against communal violence. It also proposes repealing of Article 356 that provides unbridled powers to the Centre to dismiss a state government as well as reviewing the role of Governors.