DMK manifesto demands genuine Federalism, pro-farmer policies

Written by Political Bureau | Chennai | Updated: Apr 3 2009, 06:00am hrs
Speedy implementation of the Sethusamudram project, farm loans at 2%, payment for farm labourers to face the global meltdown and amendment to the Constitution to establish a wholesome and genuine federalism are some of the key components of the election manifesto of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (DMK), an important ally of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

The manifesto, released by DMK president M Karunanidhi, demands appropriate amendments to the Constitution for a wholesome and genuine federalism, with autonomy at the state-level and federal governance at the Centre to strengthen federalism in the country.

Pressing for speedy implementation of the Rs 2,400-crore Sethusamudram project, it said the Centre should expedite the legal process to implement it, since a case was pending in the Supreme Court citing religious reasons.

On the agriculture front, the party demanded the central farm loans at 2% interest. Referring to the global meltdown, the manifesto suggested providing six-month salary as grant for labourers facing retrenchment due to its impact.

Regarding transport, the party demanded bullet trains between Chennai-Madurai and Chennai-Coimbatore and a Chennai-Delhi dedicated freight corridor.

A strong votary of state autonomy, the party said in its manifesto that its views on Centre-states relations had been placed before various commissions set up by the Centre to analyse this matter.

Claiming credit for implementing the Centres 27% OBC quota by virtue of continued insistence from DMK, the party also opposed the creamy layer concept, saying it would deprive OBCs of the full benefit of reservation policy.

The party also demanded suitable Constitutional amendments to ensure that legislations related to reservation were kept out of the purview of legal review. The DMK also sought constitutional amendments to enable states decide on the quantum of reservation, based on the population of backward classes, most backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

A strong pro-minority lobby, it also opposed any amendment to the Indian Constitution for a uniform civil code that usurps the religious and human rights of minorities in India.