(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India
Defeat Communal BJP & Anti-People
The following are the excerpts of the election manifesto released by
the CPI(M) Delhi state committee for the 2008 assembly elections:
THE forthcoming elections to the Delhi assembly are being held in the
backdrop of increasing inequalities, unrelenting price rise, surrender
of the UPA government to the dictates of US imperialism, increasing
communal violence and terrorist attacks in various parts of the
country. In the coming assembly elections, the people of Delhi are
faced with the choice of continuation of the pro-rich policies followed
by both the Congress and the BJP or a policy alternative that stands
decisively in the interest of the common people. We appeal to the
people of Delhi to vote in the coming elections in view of the
following important issues facing them:
CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE IN DELHI
Access to education in Delhi is divided between the rich and the poor.
Due to the poor quality of education in government schools, nearly 50
per cent of all enrolled students in Delhi drop out before class 12th
and only 11 per cent in the age group of 17-23 years reach higher
education. 384 private schools in Delhi, which avail of government
subsidies like cheap land etc, do not implement the High Court’s order
on admitting 20 per cent students from families with an annual income
of Rs 1 lakh or less. The BJP run MCD is contemplating closing schools
run by it rather than opening more schools.
The government’s policy of promoting privatisation and
commercialisation of higher education has made the admission of poor
students more difficult. The four new universities opened by the Delhi
government over the last ten years are all self-financing.
The CPI (M) demands that the state government:
Expand education by opening more quality government schools with
Guarantee admission of 20 per cent poor students in all private and
government aided schools.
Reduce fees of self-financing courses in universities opened by the
Regulate the fees in private educational institutions and open more
colleges in Delhi, along with starting double shifts in all existing
Access to basic health services in Delhi is sharply divided on
the basis of the money. Delhi has only 79 PHCs, 135 jachcha-bachcha
kendras and 532 dispensaries, whereas, in proportion to the population,
the number of PHCs should be at least 560. The expansion of health
services in Delhi is based entirely on the establishment of private
hospitals, compelling the ordinary people to seek unscientific and
informal forms of health remedies. Delhi has 2 hospital beds per 1000
people as against 5 per 1000 recommended by the WHO. The rule to
reserve 25 per cent beds in all private hospitals that received
government concessions, for free treatment of the poor is entirely
ignored. User charges are being taken from patients for pathological
tests in government hospitals. The condition of MCD hospitals and
dispensaries is equally dismal. The CPI(M) demands that the
government open more hospitals, PHCs and dispensaries. The UPA’s
promise of trebling the expenditure of health from 1 per cent of the
GDP to 3 per cent must also be fulfilled.
According to the Delhi government’s own figures, 20.9 per cent
houses in Delhi are kutcha while 30.16 per cent are semi-pucca in
nature. Yet the DDA has not built a single low cost housing unit for
almost two decades. Neither has it built middle class housing units.
Just prior to the election, the Congress government has announced a low
cost housing scheme besides awarding “provisional certificates” to 1400
unauthorised colonies. Many old colonies like Sonia Vihar have been
arbitrarily denied this “provisional” regularisation.
The CPI(M) demands housing for the poor on a priority basis. It also
demands improvement of housing for the salaried class. All unauthorised
colonies must be regularised and the government must provide all civic
amenities there and in colonies where displaced slum dwellers have been
PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM
The record of the state government with regard to PDS is
Delhi’s population increased from 1 crore 38 lakh in 2001 to 1 crore 70
lakh in 2007. But the number of fair price shops reduced from 3165 in
2001 to 2501 in 2007. Kerosene depots also decreased from 2501 to 2443
in the same period.
Just 3.8 lakh BPL ration cards have been issued.
Only families with a monthly income of Rs 2016 or less can get BPL
The quality of goods supplied through the PDS is often bad and
adulterated. Central allocation of wheat for PDS in Delhi has reduced
from 836.79 thousand tones in 2004 to merely 488.29 thousand tones in
53 per cent of wheat and 25 per cent of sugar earmarked for PDS in
Delhi are stolen!
The CPI(M), therefore demands:
Universalisation of PDS and provision of cheap rations to all
Issuing ration cards to lakhs of people who have been deprived of
them so far.
Increase in number of ration and kerosene shops, especially in
Full quotas of ration to card holders and proper quality of
Strong measures against corruption in PDS.
ELECTRICITY, WATER& TRANSPORT
Electric supply continues to be dismal after the privatisation of
distribution in 2002. The private power companies that get huge
subsidies from the government have imposed high power tariffs on
citizens. Long power cuts, fast running meters and inflated bills
further compound people’s woes. Transmission and distribution losses
continue to be over 40 per cent. A system of single point connections
through thekedars in JJ clusters has been implemented to the detriment
of residents of slum dwellers. The CPI(M) demands a reversal of the
privatisation of power distribution and government subsidies to reduce
the electricity rates for consumers.
The Delhi government initiated plans to privatise the Delhi Jal Board
in 2005, which was thwarted by the opposition of the people. However,
private bore wells and commercial tankers have been allowed to use the
common resource of water for private benefits. The maintenance and
repair services of the DJB have been privatised, leading to losses of
nearly 40 per cent of all treated water due to seepage. The water
supply in Delhi suffers from unequal per capita supply to different
areas. The CPI(M) demands uniform per capita supply of water to all
areas of Delhi and an end to privatisation through the backdoor.
While the Delhi Metro has been built, the Delhi government has no
perspective on increasing modes of road transport for the common
people. While there were 3010 DTC buses on the road in 2004-05, their
number decreased to 2814 in 2006-07. Bus fares have also increased. The
BJP controlled MCD is busy imposing impractical regulations on rikshaw
pullers, thereby, causing hardship to ordinary people. The CPI(M)
demands a comprehensive public transport policy in Delhi which will
cater to the needs of an increasing population.
THE FARCE OF ‘BHAGIDARI’
The ‘Bhagidari’ scheme of the Delhi government which is supposedly
aimed at improving the living conditions of the people is an eyewash.
So far only citizen-groups of registered associations have been
involved in this scheme. No programmes have been undertaken in slum
clusters, resettlement colonies and unauthorised areas. Moreover,
through this scheme maintenance, security and other responsibilities of
the government are being transferred to the RWAs. This trend of
creeping privatisation of civic amenities must be stopped immediately.
All civic amenities must be provided by the government.
The record of Delhi state governments whether led by the BJP or
Congress has been overtly anti-working class. Minimum wages of
unskilled workers are only Rs 3683 as against at least Rs 8500 per
month, as per the criteria decided by the National Labour Commission.
Most workers do not even get this pittance. Labour laws are not
implemented and large scale contractualisation and casualisation of
work is taking place.
The condition of lakhs of informal sector workers in Delhi is even
worse. The state government has consistently tried to displace hawkers
and rickshaw drivers and close down eateries. These sections are faced
with extortion by the police and municipal authorities. No social
security is available to them. The UPA’s promise of enacting a Bill for
the social security of unorganised sector workers, i.e., providing
pension, provident fund and health insurance has not been implemented.
Lakhs of women in the city are compelled to work on a piece rate basis
in their homes. They are entirely at the mercy of contractors and 10-12
hours of backbreaking work gets them earnings as low as Rs 150-500 per
month. They have no legal rights. The CPI(M) demands minimum wage of Rs
8500 per month, implementation of labour laws and social security for
all unorganised sector workers.
The condition of women in Delhi is alarming and the city is often
called the rape capital of India. The rate of crimes against women has
increased the fastest among all crimes in Delhi. 75 per cent of the
people accused for rape are acquitted. The sex ratio in Delhi has
fallen to 782 females per 1000 males due to increasing female
foeticide. 95 per cent of all cases of burning of women in Delhi are
dismissed as accidents or suicides. The pernicious practice of dowry
has increased steadily. The literacy rate of females in Delhi is 12 per
cent behind males. Women workers do not get equal wages in comparison
to men. In view of all of the above, the urgent need is to ensure the
formulation of gender sensitive policies in all aspects of the
government functioning. The CPI(M) is committed to fight against all
forms of discrimination against women and stands for their equal
The facts revealed by the Sachar Committee report show that the
condition of the Muslim minorities in Delhi is much worse than the rest
of the population. The literacy rate for Muslims in Delhi is 15 per
cent behind the state average, i.e., only 66.6 per cent. The lowest
literacy rates in Delhi are mostly in Muslim majority wards. The Muslim
population in Delhi is 12 per cent, but their share in Bank loans is
only 2.6 per cent which is less than the national average of 7.6 per
cent. The percentage of Muslims in government employment is only 3.2
per cent which is also less than the national average of 6.3 per cent.
Muslim majority areas have visibly poor access to infrastructure,
transport, education and health services. The CPI(M) stands for
implementation of the recommendations of the Sachar Committee for the
socio-economic and educational advancement of the Muslims.
Dalits comprise 17.8 per cent of the population of Delhi. Most of them
live in separate clusters in different areas of the city labeled as
‘dalit bastis’. Less than 0.69 per cent of the budget has been spent on
the development of dalits by the state government over the last five
years. This is even less than the amount spent on jails and flood
control! Out of the 1,30,750 scholarships earmarked for dalit students,
only 49,023 were actually distributed in five years, i.e., less than 40
per cent. Only two houses were built for dalit families in Delhi, as
opposed to the promised 1000. Not even a single rupee was spent out of
the Rs 1600 crores earmarked for building community toilets in dalit
bastis. Sanitation services in government services were the first to be
privatised, thereby, exposing dalit workers to greater exploitation.
The dalits in Delhi suffer from both caste discrimination as well as
non-implementation of existing policies. The CPI(M) demands increase in
the budgetary allocation for the development of dalits in Delhi and
strict implementation of all welfare policies for them.
The Delhi government has been following a disastrous environment
policy. The permission given to build malls in the Vasant Kunj area by
destroying the Delhi ridge is outrageous. One such mall has even
announced an entry fee of Rs 250 per person, making it the most
restrictive shopping area in Delhi. The Commonwealth Games Village is
being built on the Yamuna bed, in complete defiance of environmental
norms. This will harm the water table irreparably and impact very
adversely on future availability of water in Delhi. It is shameful that
the government does not have a consistent and comprehensive environment
policy and invokes it only when slums or industries have to be
relocated. The CPI(M) believes that a principled, clear and democratic
environmental policy should be formulated for our city.
‘OPPOSITIONAL’ ROLE OF BJP
The BJP is the main opposition party in Delhi. Yet its oppositional
role has been restricted to mere tokenism. This is hardly surprising,
as like the Congress, it too is a votary of neo-liberal policies. Thus,
it supports the drive to privatise civic amenities. It supported
privatisation of power distribution and was conspicuous by its absence
in the movement to oppose the government’s moves to privatise water
supply. Like the Congress, the BJP too stands for privatisation and
commercialisation of education and has no concern for the food security
of the people under attack due to restriction of the public
distribution system. In fact, the Delhi BJP raised a huge hue and cry
against the short-lived anti-hoarding drive carried out by the Delhi
government, thereby, exposing its priority for protecting the interests
of hoarders over the common people. It was during the rule of its state
government that the campaign to drive the poor out of the city by
demolition of slums and displacement of hawkers began. The problems of
the working class and dalits in Delhi have never featured on the BJP’s
radar. Its outlook towards women and their rights is most reactionary
and Muslims for it are mere objects of hate. The Delhi BJP has also
been very busy in trying to spread communal venom by using issues like
the Sethusamudram project, the Amarnath Shrine controversy and trying
to demonise the entire Muslim community as terrorists. Such an
anti-people party that thrives on the politics of hatred does not
deserve your vote.
VOTE AND ELECT CPI(M) CANDIDATES
The CPI(M) has a consistent record of fighting steadfastly for the
interests of the people. At the national level, the Party has
resolutely fought against each attack on the livelihood of the people
and every compromise on national sovereignty. Legislation defending the
interests of the people like the Tribal Act, the Right To Information
Act, Rural Employment Guarantee Act etc., are all the result of
pro-people interventions of the CPI(M) and Left parties. It is our
opposition that has prevented wholesale privatisation of the public
sector as well as the privatisation of pension funds and retrograde
changes in labour laws. The CPI(M) has also been in the forefront of
defending our national sovereignty and independent foreign policy. The
CPI(M) has uncompromisingly opposed divisive and anti-national forces
indulging in communalism and terrorism. It has consistently defended
the rights of all oppressed citizens to live as equal citizens.
In Delhi too, we have consistently stood by the working class and
common people, be it the workers and employees, or women, minorities
and dalits. We have also been in the forefront of the struggle against
the demolition of jhuggis and attacks on the livelihood of lakhs of
unorganised sector workers like hawkers and rickshaw drivers. We have
consistently fought against the anti-people policies of the Delhi
government like privatisation of electricity or water. It is on the
basis of our pro-people record and our alternate policy perspective,
that the CPI (M) seeks your vote in the assembly elections.
With power being shared between the Congress and the BJP in Delhi, the
concerns of the common people find no space in the decisions of the
Delhi assembly. The CPI (M) appeals to the people of Delhi to
decisively reject the communal BJP and the anti-people Congress, since
they provide no solution to the problems of the common people.
The representation of the CPI(M) in the Delhi assembly is essential to
ensure that a policy alternative to the overtly pro-rich policies
pursued by the Congress and BJP is initiated in Delhi. We appeal to the
people of Delhi to support and vote for the following four candidates
being put up by the CPI(M) and ensure their victory:
Karol Bagh (SC) : Nathu Prasad
Dwarka : Mukesh Chaudhary
Karawal Nagar :