The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on May 16-17, 2004. It has issued the following statement:
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) hailed the verdict of the Indian people in the 14th Lok Sabha elections. The BJP and its allies have been decisively defeated. The verdict of the people is against the communal platform assiduously propagated by the RSS-BJP combine, its brazen pursuit of pro-rich, pro-big business economic policies and its abject capitulation to the US hegemonic designs.
This is a mandate given against the naked policies of liberalisation and privatization which have harmed the livelihood of farmers, the rural poor and the common people. The fact that the BJP alliance lost 4 per cent of the vote as compared to 1999 shows the extent of the erosion of popular support.
The defeat of the BJP is a victory for the secular, democratic and Left forces. Many parties and forces have contributed to this historic mandate. The Central Committee congratulates all these parties and forces. The threat posed by the BJP and the communal forces continues to exist, despite their ouster from the Central government. All the secular and democratic forces should remain vigilant to foil their designs.
CPI(M) and Left Strengthened
The Central Committee expressed its deep satisfaction that the CPI(M) and the Left have emerged as a strengthened force. The Left's tally of seats is the highest registered so far since 1952. The CPI(M) has got the highest ever tally of 44 seats. This is a recognition of the firm and consistent role of the CPI(M) and the Left in the fight against the harmful policies of BJP-led government and its unblemished record in defending secularism and national unity. The Central Committee greets the people of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura who have played a major role in enhancing the strength and role of the Left.
Attitude to New Government
The stage has been set for the formation of a secular Government at the Centre. The CPI(M) is of the opinion that various parties who have contributed to the defeat of the BJP should form the government. The Congress party which has the largest number of seats is in a position to constitute the coalition government and lead it.
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) decided to support such a government. The CPI(M) cannot be part of the Congress-led alliance which will form the government, but it will, in order to ensure a stable and viable government, extend support to it from outside.
The CPI(M), alongwith the Left, while supporting the government will also play an independent role in asserting the interests of the working people, in protecting the secular edifice and opposing imperialist penetration in our society.
The Central Committee appreciated the concern of a large number of intellectuals, prominent personalities and Left sympathisers that the Left should play a direct role in the government. The Party assures them that it will discharge its responsibilities to ensure that under a new government, the democratic and secular forces are strengthened and will in no way permit the communal forces to stage a come back.
The Central Committee decided that the Polit Bureau will consider the draft proposals for a Common Minimum Programme and take whatever necessary steps thereafter.
Policy Direction of Secular Government
The CPI(M) and the Left parties fought these elections on a platform of isolating the communal forces, initiating economic policies which are in the interests of all sections of the working people and an independent foreign policy. The people expect the new government to adopt a policy direction which comprises:
a) Steps to weed out the communal penetration in the institutions of the State, educational, research and cultural bodies. Restoring the secular character of the State and its institutions should be a priority.
b) An independent foreign policy which is consistent with India's traditions of non-alignment. The policy should promote multi-polarity and good relations with our neighbours and promote the dialogue with Pakistan.
c) The economic policies should be oriented towards providing relief to the ordinary people, generation of employment, giving priority to agriculture and for upliftment of the rural poor. The public sector has to be streamlined but there can be no privatisation of profitable public sector units.
d) The public distribution system has to be revamped, so that the current targeted programme, which deprived large sections of the people of cheap food, is done away with. There must be increased spending in the social sector so that education, health, welfare of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and women are promoted. The women's reservation bill must be taken up for adoption. Anti-working class legislations and POTA must be scrapped.
e) In the sphere of Centre-State relations, sufficient resources have to be provided to the states, lower interest rates and provision of substantial debt relief.