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    Analysis: CPM manifesto attempts to sell old socialist wine in new bottle, lacks punch to woo voters

    Analysis: CPM manifesto attempts to sell old socialist wine in new bottle, lacks punch to woo voters

    Analysis: CPM manifesto attempts to sell old socialist wine in new bottle, lacks punch to woo voters
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    By Ajay Vaishnav   IST (Published)

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    The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday released its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections 2019.

    The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday released its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections 2019, focusing on a raft of subjects and appealing voters to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance, hoping to increase its strength in the Lok Sabha and ensure the formation of a secular government.
    The Left party, which was reduced to just nine seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, will contest just 71 seats this time, primarily in West Bengal and Kerala, where it still holds some influence.
    But CPM’s manifesto is far from inspiring as it attempts to influence the ongoing political discourse and challenge existing ideas of economic growth and lifting of masses from poverty.
    Instead, the document attempts to sell ideas, which had not done India and its cause for growth any good as seen for over five decades after independence.
    While the document launches strong jabs against the Narendra Modi-led BJP government on issues such as communal polarisation, institutional autonomy, joblessness and several other fronts, it hardly offers any concrete blueprint to push economic growth, job creation and the next wave of economic reforms, particularly related to land acquisition and labour, which have become a major hiccup for fast industrial growth.
    The CPM manifesto prescribes panacea like subsidies, more state control of the economy, strengthening of public sector behemoths and monopolies from which India has made a hard struggle to unshackle itself and still trying to.
    Many of the manifesto’s provisions related to industry, economy, trade, finance et al bring back the memories of the socialist era which bred monopoly, wasteful state subsidies, corruption and nepotism.
    For instance, the CPM proposes "Halt privatisation of public sector enterprises and rollback privatisation in defence, energy and railways and basic services." Or "Strengthening and expansion of the public sector in the core and strategic areas by injecting fresh capital and technology."
    The party proposed a statutory minimum wage of not less than Rs 18,000 per month, Universal Public Distribution System with 35 kg of foodgrains per family, a rise in taxes of the rich, restoration of inheritance tax and old age pension of Rs 6,000 per month. While the proposal to increase spending on social sector and wages may appeal to many voters, CPM manifesto takes the most convenient route to mobilise resources: tax super rich and corporates.
    On the foreign policy front, the document explicitly talks above the so-called "pro-Israel" tilt in foreign policy at a time when Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the most dependable defence and industrial partner of the country.
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