Shimla: Taking a lead from other major parties the Communist Party of India-Marxist yesterday announced that it would fight two out of four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh for the 2014 parliament elections.
The State Secretariat which met in Mandi disclosed that the party has decided to field Khushal Bhardwaj, the Vice President of Himachal Kisan Sabha and earlier a very prominent student leader of Himachal Pradesh University from the Mandi parliamentary seat and Jagat Ram, President of State CITU from the Shimla parliamentary constituency.
The party had earlier fought Vidhan Sabha elections from majority assembly segments from these two constituencies. There is a considerable improvement in the strength of cadres and growth in the party in these constituencies, said Dr Onkar Shad, senior party leader.
The CPI-M is leaving the other two seats of Kangra and Hamirpur to the CPI or other Lok Morcha parties, he said.
The left party while claiming to become an alternative to the Congress and BJP in the hill State has termed the 10 months period of the incumbent Congress government as dismal and absolutely in the footsteps of its previous predecessor which was following and implementing the ruinous neo-liberal path of development in the State.
The Congress like the BJP is dismantling the health sector in a planned manner and outsourcing the majority services to the private companies in the bulk of State run hospitals.
The entire laboratory tests so far conducted in these hospitals are now being given to the Ranbaxy, a private company. The State would loose a revenue of around Rs 10 crore by outsourcing the hospital tests to the private players, said the CPI-M. This major decision has not been taken in the cabinet and was solely decided by the health department, alleged the party.
It has also questioned the government’s role in destroying the once efficient public distribution system in the State. There is acute shortage of ration in all government depots and the public is reeling under extreme price rise. The incumbent government is contemplating to bring some foreign company in the purchase and distribution of ration in the State.
The party also strongly raised the issue of unnecessary intervention by the Virbhadra government in the working and functioning of trade unions and workmen associations.
Under the pressure from big corporate groups, the government is dithering from implementing any grants and required wages to the working class.
It is not even allowing the unions to get registered in companies like “Catch Spices” and “Jaypee Cements”, alleged the CPI-M while promising to raise the peoples’ issues during the run up for the coming elections.
KY Singh is a political observer and a senior journalist with an interest in a diverse set of issues related to Himachal Pradesh and other mountain states. He lives in Shimla.