(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 13, 2011
Re-elect LDF for Greater Gains to People
THIS special issue of People’s Democracy, coming as it does in the run-up to the assembly elections, is dedicated to strengthen the struggle to consolidate and advance the gains so far made by the people of Kerala.
As discussed in this column in the last issue, the state governments led by the CPI(M)-led fronts have opened up hitherto unknown possibilities (deliberately kept concealed by the ruling classes in order to intensify exploitation) for the improvement in people’s livelihood under the existing bourgeois-landlord class rule and Constitution. The standards of political morality upheld by these governments shines in sharp contrast to the unbridled loot of our resources by the ruling classes. These governments remain the steadfast defenders of the rights of the working people. They are, therefore, the outposts of the democratic movement in the country.
The people of Kerala had created a unique history, unprecedented anywhere else in the world at that time in 1957, by electing a Communist government in the first ever elections to the state assembly after the formation of the Kerala state. Though the ruling classes undemocratically dismissed an elected government, primarily an expression of their class outlook in being unable to tolerate a party of the working class leading a government with people’s legitimacy, the alternative pro-people policy trajectory adopted by this government has had an enduring impact on politics and development in Kerala, indeed in India. The various articles contained in this special issue substantiate this.
Kerala has the highest social indicators and human development indices compared to any other state in the country. On some counts, it surpasses even Western Europe in this regard. In Kerala, the LDF government is implementing the largest number of welfare schemes for the people, like the pensions to the workers in the unorganised sector, one month’s pre-maternity leave to the women workers of the unorganised sector, Rs 2 per kg rice scheme and free health insurance, including for chronic diseases. Besides the PDS, a wide network of fair price shops are set up where the prices of 13 essential commodities have been maintained at the same level for the last four years. There would be no family in Kerala without a house, when the half a million houses proposed under the EMS housing scheme are completed.
The strengthening of democracy by taking it to the grassroots through a system of decentralisation was initiated by the 1957 EMS government in Kerala. This was further developed into the People’s Plan through participatory democracy which delivered far-reaching benefits to the people.
The alternative policy direction followed by the LDF government has resulted in significant developments. For instance, in stark contrast to the central government’s offensive to privatise the public sector, the LDF government’s success has resulted in the rehabilitation of sick state public sector units. The same units that registered a loss of Rs 96 crore in 2005-06 have turned around to generate a profit of Rs 240 crore in 2009-10. This surplus is being reinvested in the expansion of existing public sector units and the establishment of eight new units. Kerala, probably, is the only state in India where new public sector units are being created. This, once again, shows that state governments that uphold people’s interests and are dedicated to improve people’s livelihood, can provide substantial benefits to the people even while functioning under the limitations of the bourgeois-landlord class rule in India.
It is because of these, and many other aspects contained in the pages of this special issue, that the pre-poll surveys, released as we go to press, show that there is virtually no anti-incumbency factor operating in Kerala. Though the state, during the last few decades, has shown the tendency to alternate between the CPI(M)-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF in the state assembly election, for reasons discussed above this tendency needs to be reversed. This is absolutely essential if the gains made by the people of Kerala so far are to be first defended and then carried to greater heights.
Needless to add, this is also required to strengthen the efforts at the all-India level for an alternative policy direction trajectory in order to create a better India for all our people.
(March 09, 2011)