Nineteen political parties took part today in a virtual rally convened by Congress President Sonia Gandhi – an initiative designed to signal Congress’ readiness to rally the opposition and lead the charge against BJP. A joint statement summed up their demands.
Here are the opposition’s 11 demands:
Scale and expand all vaccine manufacturing capabilities in India, procure vaccines globally and immediately accelerate free universal mass vaccination; ensure adequate compensation for those who have died from Covid; continue to massively expand the public health care system.
The central government is to implement free cash transfers of Rs.7,500 per month to all families outside the income tax bracket. Distribute free food parcels with all essential daily consumer goods to all the needy.
Withdraw unprecedented increases in central oil and diesel taxes, cut the prices of cooking gas and essential goods, especially cooking oil, and contain galloping inflation.
Repeal the three anti-agricultural laws and guarantee minimum support price to farmers.
Stop and reverse the rampant privatization of the public sector; repeal the labor laws that weaken the rights of labor and the working class. Restore the rights of working people to protest and wage bargaining.
Implement monetary stimulus packages for the revival of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), not for lending. Increase public investment to build our economic and social infrastructure that generates jobs and stimulates domestic demand. Fill the vacancies with the government.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) with a 200-day incremental guarantee with at least doubling wages. Similarly, establish an urban employment guarantee program.
Prioritize the vaccination of teachers, staff and students to ensure early reopening of educational institutions.
Immediate Supreme Court-controlled judicial investigation into the use of Pegasus Spyware for human surveillance. High-level investigation of the Rafale deal – the cancellation of the previous order and the placing of a new order at a higher cost.
Release all political prisoners, including those under the draconian law on the prevention of illegal activities (UAPA) in the Bhima Koregaon case and anti-CAA protests. Stop using other draconian laws like the Sedition/National Security Act to violate the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people. Release all media personnel detained for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression.
Release all political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir. Restore full state including J&K framework of central services. Conduct free and fair elections at the earliest.