Even as all political parties claim to work for marginalised sections, a look at the poll manifestos of the prominent political parties of the state in the last elections and the work done by them, suggests otherwise.
Voluntary agency Samarthan, in an analysis of the manifestos of the prominent political parties of the state in the 2008 elections, found that the number of
announcements pertaining to workers, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act-based workers and migrant labourers were few in number. Moreover, the ruling party during the 20082013 period has not implemented half the promises made to this section.
An analysis of the BJP manifesto of 2008 suggests that out of the total 406 announcements made by the party, 16 pertained to workers (department wise - 2 pertaining to agriculture, 3 to industries, 9 to labour and 2 to women and child development). Besides this, there were 7 other issues pertaining to rural development and 2 pertaining to panchayats that were included in the manifesto.
After the party came to power in 2008, it has managed to work upon 8 out of the 16 announcements made by it pertaining to this group while the other 8 remain untouched. Among the 7 announcements pertaining to the rural development sector, only 3 have been worked upon.
Samarthan has also analysed the manifesto of the Congress and found that out of the 370 announcements made by the party in 2008, 7 pertained to labourers, 2 to rural development and 4 to panchayats. The Congress too ignored the issue of migrant labourers in its manifesto and did not make any announcement pertaining to issues in the MGNREGA.
Interestingly, smaller parties like the Bhartiya Jan Shakti (later merged with the BJP), the Communist Party of India ( CPI) and the Gondwana Ganatantra Party (GGP) had listed more announcements pertaining to workers and labourers in their manifestoes. The BJSP (total 175 announcements in the manifesto) had listed 4 announcements on migrant labourers while the GGP had listed 1 and BJSP had listed 4 announcements on MGNREGA while the GGP had listed 1 and the CPI had 4.
The Samajwadi Party had 84 items on its manifesto of which 2 pertained to workers, 1 pertained to rural development and 2 pertained to panchayats. Of the 43 announcements in the manifesto of the CPI, 4 pertained to workers and 4 pertained to MGNREGA.
Yogesh Kumar, director, Samarthan, told HT that the voluntary agency has been monitoring manifestoes of parties since 2003. “We plan to make a public manifesto focusing on MGNREGA, panchayati raj institutions and migrant labour, which is a big issue in many parts of the state. Workshops would be held in seven districts and the findings in the form of demands would be handed over to political parties for incorporation in their manifestoes,” he said.