New Delhi: A promise to uphold the secular values enshrined in the Constitution, a push for minorities in Maharashtra, and 80 per cent reservation in jobs for local youths — these are some of the key promises underpinning the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena common minimum programme, which was released Thursday evening.
The three parties, who took office in Maharashtra Thursday, held exhaustive talks in order to arrive at a common agenda that irons out their deep ideological differences. Their alliance is known as the Maha Vikas Aghadi (great development alliance).
While the NCP and the Congress have been allies before and are known to push for secularism, the Shiv Sena has been identified with a hard Hindutva approach.
The common minimum programme’s focus on minorities and secularism can be seen in light of the Congress’ scepticism about joining hands with the Shiv Sena.
“The alliance partners commit to uphold the secular values enshrined in the Constitution,” reads the preamble of the programme. “On contentious issues of national importance as well as of state importance especially having repercussions/consequences on the secular fabric of the nation, the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress will take a joint view after holding consultations and arriving at a consensus.”
Focus on farmers, minorities, education
Among other things, the programme outlines the setting up of two coordination committees, one to monitor the alliance and another for the cabinet.
Promises of the tripartite alliance include various schemes to “eliminate the social, educational and economic backwardness of the minority communities and implement constitutional safeguards for its security and welfare in letter and in spirit”.
For farmers, the three parties promise “immediate assistance”, including loan waivers for tillers suffering from premature rains and floods, and a sustainable water supply system for drought-affected areas.
Women also figure prominently in the four-page document, with their safety listed as the government’s “highest priority”.
Education is a key focus area as well, with the alliance promising free education for girls from economically weaker sections, a fellowship for unemployed youths, and zero-interest education loans for children of farm labourers and students from economically weaker sections.