An election manifesto released by CPI (M) State unit in Chennai on Friday promised to exempt Tamil Nadu from the ambit of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical admissions, waiver of farmers’ loans, continuing of Keezhadi archaeological excavations, among others.
Party State secretary K. Balakrishnan released the manifesto for Tamil Nadu in the presence of Central Committee members K. Varadarajan and A. Soundararajan and State Committee members A. Arumuga Nainar and K. Udhayakumar in the party office.
While the party’s three primary agendas were removing the Narendra Modi government from the Centre, enhancing CPI (M)’s participation in Parliament and forming a secular government at the Centre, its State unit has chalked a specific agenda for Tamil Nadu. The manifesto also promised to take steps towards compulsory procurement of agricultural produce by the government, implementation of the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Commission related to farmers’ welfare.
Strengthening of labour laws, protection of MSME entrepreneurs, making multi-national companies abide the law of the land, reforms in the selection of the Governor for States, bringing back the Planning Commission, which was abolished by the BJP government, are among the features emphasised in the manifesto.
“We have also highlighted the importance of making teaching of Tamil in schools mandatory, making Tamil the court language in High Court, making Tamil a language in Central government offices located in Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Balakrishnan said.
Water management was another aspect, which his party has given a thorough thought, he said. Evolving a national river water policy, increasing the height of Mullaperiyar dam to 152 feet, opposition by hydrocarbon project and the likes are among other highlights in the manifesto.
The demand for releasing the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, equal rights to Tamils living in Sri Lanka, conducting a probe into the alleged war crimes in the neighbouring island and improving the infrastructure in the camps housing Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu were also given prominence.
Mr. Balakrishnan questioned the integrity of the officials in the Election Commission of India (ECI) who conducted election surveillance in the State. Though his party didn’t object to the raids the Commission conducted, its actions were “discriminatory.”
While ambulances were used for transporting money during the 2016 Assembly polls allegedly by the ruling AIADMK government, there were reasons to suspect that money was being mobilised through police vehicles, he said.
“Increasingly, the Election Commission has become the puppet of the ruling government,” Mr. Balakrishnan said and went on to allege harassment on his party members in Madurai.
While they were only pursuing door-to-door campaign, women in his party were forced to get permission as if they were organising a public meeting, he pointed out. In some districts, District Election Officers were functioning at the behest of the ruling government. Despite written complaints, no action was taken in this regard, he claimed.
When asked about the seizure of money from an associate of DMK treasurer Durai Murugan, Mr. Balakrishnan said the Commission had not yet proved as to whether the seized money was not accounted for.
Referring to claims that a huge sum of money was to be distributed to campaign for AIADMK candidate in Theni during the visit of BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next few days, Mr. Balakrishnan pointed out no raid had been initiated in the area to curb the menace.