Left parties join hands ahead of polls in northeast

Imphal, March 6 (IANS): Joining hands ahead of elections in some northeastern states, the left parties have called for unity among themselves to stamp out corruption and communalism from the region.

"The Left parties have shown the way in states like Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura, and other states could emulate them," Moirangthem Nara, secretary of the CPI's Manipur unit, said here at the first state-level meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Left Parties on Saturday.

He said the Left government in Tripura has shown that if there is political will, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, could also be lifted.

"There is no crusader like Irom Sharmila in Tripura. The Left government has brought about a sea change and people are happy," Nara, a former minister of Manipur, said.

Attended by the representatives of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Forward Block, Revolutionary Socialist Party and CPI-Marxist-Leninist, the Left parties' convention comes ahead of assembly elections in Assam in April and in Manipur early next year.

Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura are also due for the assembly elections in 2018.

Nara said the Left parties should particularly be concerned about Manipur where the Congress has "given a corrupt regime".

"There is an urgent need for the Left parties to join hands in Manipur to save the state from the corrupt Congress party."

He said the Manipur government has started talking about implementing the Food Security Act without creating conditions for it.

"The Public Distribution System has been a failure in the state. There is apprehension among some sections that ministers, MLAs and hangers-on may get a free hand once the Food Security Act is implemented."

Nara and other leaders also flagged the issue of communalism, observing that "there have been hundreds of communal clashes during the two years of BJP rule in the country".

"The tribals and non-tribals should stay in communal harmony and all sections of people should stay together as equals," said the CPI leader.

Another CPI leader, Moirangthem Ibohal, took a poor view of the Manipur budget for 2016-17. "It is like a project report of an NGO and is not in the interest of the state and the people."

The CPI has been in a bad shape in Manipur for a long time. It has not been able to field candidates in several elections in the recent past.

In the 2012 Manipur assembly elections, the CPI failed to win a single seat in the 60-member house.

The party suffered a setback when veteran leader Ningthoujam Mangi, also a former minister of Manipur, resigned to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).


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