Home / Politics / Policy /  CPI releases election manifesto, doesn’t rule out post-poll alliance with Congress

New Delhi: A day after Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) patriarch M. Karunanidhi extended an olive branch to the Congress party, the Communist Party of India (CPI) on Thursday did not rule out supporting the Congress after the elections.

The CPI on Thursday released its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, focusing on “economic development with equitable distribution and social justice".

Although the CPI said it was time to bring down the “corrupt" United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, it did not rule out the prospect of a post-poll alliance with the Congress, which leads the coalition.

“We are not open to any alliance," former general secretary and CPI leader A.B. Bardhan said at the launch of the manifesto. “We are fighting both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)."

“What will happen after election, we will consider after election," he, however, added.

The CPI with other Left parties had extended issue-based support to the UPA in 2004 mainly to keep the BJP, which they termed communal, out of power. The UPA and Left parted ways in 2008 over the government’s decision to sign a civilian nuclear deal with the US.

The CPI in its manifesto opposed foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, saying the state was the sole owner of all natural resources. It also opposed public-private partnerships (PPPs). It called for right to housing to be enacted as a fundamental right, expanding universal old age pension and ensuring equal rights for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community.

The party, which has four lawmakers in the Lok Sabha, also recommended replacing the first-past-the-poll system of election with proportional representation.

In its 17-page manifesto, the party spoke about an urban employment guarantee scheme on the lines of the rural jobs guarantee programme and providing 35kg of foodgrain per month to all families at a maximum of 2 per kilogram.

“We appeal to the people, on the basis of our manifesto and the current situation, that this country needs a change," Sudhakar Reddy, general secretary of the CPI, told reporters. “We have to defeat the Congress government."

The party manifesto also called for a national youth policy, the right to work as a fundamental right, an unemployment allowance and a shift from capital-intensive development to job-intensive development.

Karunanidhi, whose DMK party quit the UPA in 2013, said on Wednesday: “If the Congress can swear they will stop communal forces, the DMK is willing to forgive them and support them."

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