Perhaps facing one of the toughest elections in recent times CPIM has come out with its manifesto. There is usual rhetoric of bringing alternate policy to governance. It tears into the policies taken by both Congress and BJP deeming it anti poor and harmful for the commoners. Interestingly though there is not a single mention of Trinamool Congress in the 48 page manifesto. Yet, one can safely say Communist party of India (Marxist) i.e CPIM’s manifesto has taken a leaf out of didi’s book in virtually all contentious issues. From the question of acquisition of land for industry to revaluating centre- state relation, CPIM’s stand seems to be a mirror image of their principal opponent party in West Bengal. It seems the fact that Mamata was more left than Left to usurp power has finally sink in.
After unsuccessfully trying to cobble up allies for pre poll seat arrangement, CPIM in particular and Left parties at large have understood the ground reality. Like didi got snubbed by Anna, left had been side-lined by Jaya in Tamil Nadu. In this fast evolving political scenario, party top bosses realise that they will not get any legitimacy from others just for ideological rants. Only a hefty quota of seats can get them back to political spotlight and to make the elusive third front a reality. Hence as of now alike Mamata Banerjee Left parties will also be concentrating on maximising their seat count. Although a national party, general secretary Prakash Karat was candid to acknowledge their limitations. He said that they expect to get most of the seats from their traditional stronghold of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. He was cautious about prospects in Bengal saying that campaign has just started. Brinda Karat claimed that they were expecting to better from 2009, when Left Front got 15 seats. Though in their internal meetings left leaders have feared poor results, a repeat or worse from 2011 Assembly election.
Hardening of stand
Perhaps as a course correction, CPIM has back tracked on their policy of land acquisition. It now says that land can be only acquired with the consent of the farmers. Ironically in both Nandigram and Singur it tried to do exactly the opposite giving TMC a chance to breach the Left citadel. In a sense the liberal line taken by the likes of Buddhadeb Bhatttacharjee and Nirupam Sen has been junked for much hard line views of party secretary Karat. In adversity, a party may decide to change or to go back more firmly to its roots. CPIM seems to have chosen the latter. Party has also proposed to change law so that state legislative’s views get compulsory cognizance in case a new state is to be formed out of it. It mentions that states should get 50 per cent of the total tax collection, something Mamata has been advocating vociferously off late. The manifesto proposes to stop F.D.I in almost every government sector. It plans to put various restrictions on private sector for optimum use of nation’s wealth. It proposes to increase the tax rate on the rich and the upper middle class. Special reservations for backward minorities have also been promised.
Over the top promises
There are few tall promises which the party will have much difficulty in implementing. Some of them are like giving land to all without home, rice at two rupees per kilo to all Indians etc. There is absolutely no indicator about how money will be pulled in to do the needful. In the remote possibility of a third front government how many of these points actually get implemented will be something worth finding out. As of now, CPIM plans to beat didi in her own game without any qualms.