GUWAHATI, March 18 - The alleged failure of the Narendra Modi-led government to tackle economic problems, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill-2016, and the need for formation of an alternative government comprising ‘secular’ forces will be among the major poll planks of the Left parties in Assam for the forthcoming Lok Sabha election.
Leaders of various Left parties told this newspaper that continuation of the BJP-led NDA in power at the Centre will not only undermine the Constitution and secular ethos of the country, but will also lead to further economic marginalisation of the middle and working classes.
“Our main focus will be on highlighting the failure of the Modi government on the economic front. To hide that failure and to divert the attention of the voters, the BJP has been promoting communal and divisive politics. So we will also give thrust on spreading the message against the BJP’s communal brand of politics. We will put emphasis on formation of a ‘secular’ government at the Centre as well. In addition, we will also seek support of the voters to increase the strength of the Left forces inside the Parliament. It is due to the diminished strength of the Left in Lok Sabha during the last five years that no proper discussion or debate took place inside the House on basic problems affecting the masses,” state secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Deben Bhattacharya told The Assam Tribune.
For the CPM, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB will also be a major issue in the election.
“CAB is a classic example of how the BJP attempted to divide the people of Assam on religious lines and also tried to dilute the Assam Accord. In addition, issues like privatisation of oil fields, big dams, price rise, lack of industrialisation in the state and the failure of the government on the employment generation front will also be highlighted by our party,” said Bhattacharya.
CPM will contest from two constituencies in Assam – Kokrajhar and Lakhimpur – in the Lok Sabha polls.
Munin Mahanta, state secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), said that CAB will be main issue for his party in Assam.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have said that they will bring back CAB if the NDA returns to power. Our main focus will be to ensure the defeat of forces that support CAB,” he said.
Mahanta added that his party will also raise issues like inflation, land rights of the indigenous people and agrarian distress.
“The NDA government is giving away Assam’s resources to the big corporate houses. Privatisation of the oil fields is an example. We will call upon the masses to oust the BJP from power. We will fight the polls to bring in a secular and democratic government,” said the CPI leader.
CPI will contest from the Jorhat and Lakhimpur constituencies in Assam in the parliamentary elections.
For Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation, a major issue during the elections will be what the party termed as “BJP government’s attack on the Constitution of the country and various institutions”.
“The Modi government tried to subvert the Constitution and undermine the autonomy of institutions, including the RBI, the Election Commission, UGC and the judiciary. BJP wants to destroy the modern Indian values,” said Bibek Das, central committee member of CPI (ML) Liberation.
He added that the party will highlight the issue of minimum wage for tea garden workers and land rights of the indigenous people of Assam.
“The BJP promised to increase wages of the tea garden workers, but it did nothing. Land is being given at a cheap rate to big corporate houses, but indigenous communities have yet to get land pattas. In addition, price rise and unemployment will be major issues in our campaign,” Das said, adding that his party is planning to contest from the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency in Assam.