In what appears to be a clear bid to rally all possible support in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the State CPI(M) leadership has decided to begin discussions on expanding the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF).

The discussions would cover parties such as the Indian National League (INL) which have been with the LDF for long. The splintered Kerala Congress factions and the faction of the CMP are waiting for entry into the LDF.

Slams Modi

"We are not looking at the possibility of everyone being accommodated in the alliance, but setting off a dialogue that would help us consolidate the LDF’s support base," a top LDF leader said. The CPI(M) State committee on Saturday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having turned his back on the legitimate food security concerns raised by an all-party delegation from Kerala.

In a resolution, the CPI(M) said that Kerala had turned to cash crops following a pact with the Centre that the latter would provide food grain to buttress the State’s public distribution system and pre-empt food shortages.

However, the Centre has reneged on the understanding. In 2016, the Centre had sanctioned only 14.25 lakh tonnes of food grains compared to the 24 lakh metric tonnes the State had received in the 1990s when Kerala’s population was much lesser.

The State now hosts a vast population of migrant workers. Instead of increasing the State’s ration share commensurately, the Centre has slashed it.

An estimated 56% of the State’s population, about 45 lakh families on the priority rationing list, relied on subsidised food grains to stave off hunger. The Centre’s monthly allocation to the State is 33,384 tonnes. It meant a ration card holder in the priority list received only 1.75 kg of rice a month. The Centre’s policy ran contrary to the provisions of the Food Security Act that guarantees a minimum 5 kg of subsidised food grains for a citizen.

The CPI(M) said the Prime Minister had refused to consider the historical, social and economic background in which Kerala introduced statutory rationing following substantial food shortages in the 60s.

Kerala had given 239 acres to the Centre in 2008-09 on the assurance that it would set up a coach factory in Palakkad. The Centre has now clarified that it would not sanction the proposed industry in Kerala, despite favourable feasibility reports and studies by various agencies.

An estimated 56% of population relies on subsidised foodgrains to stave off hunger

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