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What is a CMP? Find out!

By George Iype in New Delhi
May 18, 2004 11:50 IST
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Key members of the Congress-led coalition are working overtime to draft what they call a Common Minimum Programme. outlines what a CMP is all about:

What is the CMP?

It will list the policies and programmes that all partners of the Congress-led coalition will abide by for the smooth functioning of the next government.

It will outline what the new government plans to do during its tenure; a broad roap map so to speak.

What was the need for a CMP?

The Congress went to the election in an alliance with 16 regional or smaller parties.

The Congress and its allies won only 217 seats.

To form the next government, the Congress is being supported by the Left Front, which won 63 seats in this election.

But this group of strange political partners has different views on economic policies, security concerns, social programmes and foreign policy.

The CMP is an attempt to bring together all these issues into one programme that all the allies would agree to, and which the government can then implement.

But all the parties had issued their own election manifestos. How will the CMP be different?

When the CMP is being drafted, all the political parties present key elements of their manifestos and press those to be included in the CMP.

For instance, the Left parties want its demand to scrap the divestment ministry to be included in the CMP.

It is a demand, which the Congress party may not agree to. A debate is on between various coalition partners as to what the CMP should contain.

Who is drafting the CMP?

The Congress party has taken the lead to prepare the CMP.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has set up a committee headed by former finance minister Dr Manmohan Singh to do the needful.

Other members of the committee are Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun Singh and Jairam Ramesh.

The Congress team is interacting with leaders of all its allies to gather their views on the CMP.

For instance, Communist Party of India-Marxist economic strategist Sitaram Yechury, who co-drafted the United Front government's CMP in 1996 along with P Chidambaram and S Jaipal Reddy, interacts with the Congress group on behalf of the CPI-M.

The outgoing Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was also a coalition. Did it also have a CMP?

The Vajpayee government -- known as the National Democratic Alliance coalition -- did not have a CMP.

But the NDA, that consisted of some 22 parties, had a common election manifesto known as the Agenda for Development, Good Governance and Peace. That manifesto could be otherwise termed as the Vajpayee's government's CMP.

Was a CMP prepared by any other government in the past?

As we mentioned above, the United Front government headed by prime minister H D Deve Gowda was a 13-party coalition supported by the Left parties and Congress from outside.

The Deve Gowda coalition also drafted a similar CMP. The CMP was even integrated in the Deve Gowda government's first full Budget for 1996-1997.

Salient points of the 1996 CMP?

It called for setting up a divestment commission for advising the government on divestment; take and implement decision to divest in a transparent manner; examine the public sector in non-core strategic areas and job security, opportunities for retraining and redeployment to be assured.

When will be the new coalition's CMP released?

By Friday, May 21.

What will it look like?

"Our CMP will be the Common Maximum Performance document for the smooth functioning of the new government," says Jairam Ramesh.

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George Iype in New Delhi