People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 45

November 16, 2008


Defeat Communal BJP &  Anti-People Congress

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: 


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 affordable fees.
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 Delhi government.
Regulate the fees in private educational institutions and open more colleges in Delhi, along with starting double shifts in all existing colleges.


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 settled.


The record of the state government with regard to PDS is miserable:
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 cards.
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 2007.
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 card holders.
 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 poorer areas.
 Full quotas of ration to card holders and proper quality of ration disbursed.
 Strong measures against corruption in PDS.


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 ‘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 citizenship rights. 


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.


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. 


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
Okhla            :     Raza Haider
Karawal Nagar       :       Anmol Chaudhary