The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance government at the centre over the issue of the Indo-US nuclear deal, has called for tighter regulation of the financial sector and said it would oppose any plan to dilute government stake in banks and other financial institutions.
In its election manifesto, released today, the CPI (M), the country's biggest left party, sought the scrapping of the Banking Regulation Bill and demanded that the government desist from selling equity in state-run banks.
The manifesto proposed a complete halt to privatisation of profitable state firms, a ban on foreign investment in the retail sector, and guidelines to prevent entry of foreign firms into the domestic market. It also called for an end to privatisation of pension funds and channeling of pension and provident funds to the stock market.
The CPI(M), which is spearheading the `Third Front' - a lose coalition of mostly left-of-centre and regional parties - said it is working for the creation of a non-Congress, non-BJP government, ''which will strengthen democracy, ensure equitable economic development and social justice."
The CPI(M) said it also wanted to review the nuclear deal with the United States to remove "harmful" clauses.
The communists oppose the Indo-US nuclear deal saying the pact is heavily tilted in favour of the US and that it compromises on India's ability to have independent security and foreign policy.
While all parties may struggle to retain the number of seats in this election, the global economic slowdown could still hep the left muster enough seats to hold the balance of power, political analysts say.
The Left leaders are hoping to reap the benefits of a backlash against foreign firms in the backdrop of the economic slowdown in India sparked by the global financial crisis.