Rajasthan Assembly Elections 2018: A strong anti-incumbency wave, says CPI(M) leader Amra Ram

CPI(M) leader says BJP will face the music in Rajasthan

CPI(M) Rajasthan State secretary Amra Ram, who has been at the forefront of several agitations against the BJP government in the State, speaks on his party’s electoral prospects and the scope for unity among smaller parties for the creation of a third front.

Do you perceive any anti-incumbency sentiments in the State?

The BJP government has failed to deliver this time in Rajasthan. It is going to face the music in the Assembly election because it did not fulfil even a single promise made in 2013. As for the Congress, it did not play its role as an Opposition party and did not join the people’s voice in matters such as power tariff revision, crop insurance and canal waters. There is a strong anti-incumbency wave all over the State.

What are the issues pertaining to farmers? A 13-day farmers’ agitation led by you last year forced the State government to accept the demands, but farmers are yet to get any real relief.

The biggest problem is the non-availability of water for irrigation. If rainwater is tapped, 87% of the land can be irrigated. The river-linking project is an empty slogan. I don’t see any progress in the project for the Kalisindh and Gambhiri rivers in Rajasthan. Farmers have not received relief because the BJP government’s intentions are not honest.

Farmers’ groups have been insisting on implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations for their welfare. Does it provide the solution for agricultural distress?

The Swaminathan Commission has dealt with an unfinished agenda of land reforms, suggested access to institutional credit and recommended remunerative marketing of farm produce. If implemented in the right spirit in a State like Rajasthan, it will resolve the issue of agricultural distress permanently. Unfortunately, no government is serious about it.

You have floated the Loktantrik Morcha ahead of the Assembly polls along with six other Leftist and socialist parties. Are you going to enter into an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)?

Our main emphasis is on breaking the two-party system in Rajasthan, where the Congress and the BJP hand over charge to each other for five years. People fed up with the murky politics of these parties need an alternative. The smaller parties should unite in the State for creating a strong third force. We are open to an alliance with the BSP and all like-minded parties and leaders. Independent MLA Hanuman Beniwal and rebel BJP leader Ghanshyam Tiwari are also trying hard to change the present dispensation.

What the prospects for CPI(M) in the 2018 Assembly election? You could not win even a single seat in 2013.

We are constantly agitating on people’s issues. Our farmers’ stir in September last year forced the BJP government to accept an 11-point charter of demands and announce a crop loan waiver amounting to ₹8,000 crore, which benefited 28 lakh farmers. We won three seats in 2008, but could not win in 2013 because voters were swayed by the BJP’s false promises. The CPI(M) has identified 29 seats where it will field its candidates this time.

How do you perceive the leadership tussle in both the BJP and the Congress in Rajasthan?

The BJP depicted its utter incompetence in dealing with the appointment of its State unit president, which hanged fire for three months. It is clear that the party’s top leadership has lost faith in Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. On the other hand, the Congress, which is a 130-year-old party, could not find a leader hailing from Rajasthan to head its Pradesh Committee. Sachin Pilot is just surviving on the goodwill of his father Rajesh Pilot.

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