People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 51

December 21, 2003



Tripura CM’s Meetings Evoke Good Response


Suman Sanzgiri


“IN the recent assembly elections the people have voted out the Congress in three major states and installed in its place the BJP which they themselves had thrown out from the seat of power in the previous elections. From their experience the people know that the BJP too will not deliver goods as far as relief from poverty and development are concerned. But they did not have any effective alternative before them to replace the Congress. A real alternative will emerge when a powerful united front of the Left and secular forces take shape on the basis of a common programme and popular struggles to change the present situation. Maharashtra has a glorious past in the freedom struggle, the struggle for social reforms and in the working class struggles. I have every hope that Maharashtra will soon witness formation of such an alternative front which will provide a serious challenge to the rule of the bourgeois parties now dominating the political scene.”


This was Manik Sarkar, chief minister of Tripura and Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) addressing a huge twenty five thousand strong rally in Peth, a tribal village in the forest area of Nasik district on December 11.


The mass of tribal people attending this rally greeted Manik Sarkar’s words with tremendous applause. Manik Sarkar was touring the tribal areas of Nasik and Thane districts in Maharashtra at the invitation of the CPI(M) Maharashtra state committee.


Enroute to Peth, Manik Sarkar inaugurated some public works at the insistence of the local tribals. Though his arrival at the venue of the meeting was an hour behind schedule the huge crowd had been waiting patiently to welcome him. According to many, this was the biggest rally ever held in this tribal belt.


It should be noted that the Peth-Surgana constituency (ST reserved) has been returning the CPI(M) MLA for the last twenty five years. The Party also holds the panchayat samiti. The Party influence is spreading in the taluks surrounding Peth and Surgana. Today, Nasik district CITU is one of the strongest unit of the state CITU.


Explaining how the CPI(M) became a strong force in Tripura, Manik Sarkar said “the Left Front, particularly the CPI(M), has developed very close relations with the toiling masses and oppressed classes of the state. Live links have been forged through ceaseless struggles waged by the Party for various just demands of workers, agricultural labour, peasants, SC, ST sections and middle classes. The LF government has been honestly and sincerely striving to implement the assurances given in its election manifesto which has strengthened the confidence of the people in our Party. Wherever it is difficult or almost impossible to implement the assurances or the promises, we explain the difficulties to the people frankly without concealing anything from them.”


Manik Sarkar criticised the central government for not extending financial aid to the state, which is delaying implementation of some important assurances made by the Left Front. “Sometimes the central government tries to impose conditions which go against our policy and we have no other alternative but to reject such conditions”, he said.


Prabhakar Sanzgiri, the state secretary of the Party, while addressing the meeting emphasised the need to propagate widely the achievements and the difficulties of the Tripura Left Front government. He said by doing so the Left can rally other democratic forces behind the just demands of the Tripura government, especially those relating to security in the border areas and allocation of sufficient funds for development.


The meeting was presided over by the CPI(M), MLA, J P Gabit who dwelt on the continuing neglect of the tribal people by the previous Sena-BJP government and also the present Congress-NCP government. He said “it was through struggles and close contacts with the local people that the CPI(M) has grown.”


Returning to Nasik, Manik Sarkar addressed another packed public meeting in the city. This time the audience consisted of factory workers and middle classes, which reflected the growth of the influence in the city.


Manik Sarkar addressed a joint Nirdhar rally organised by the CPI(M) and Kunbi Sena in Vajreshwari, Thane district on December 12. The rally was organised on the common demands of water, forest plots and employment. Kunbi Marathas are numerically the largest peasant caste in Maharashtra. In fact the word Kunbi is synonymous with toiling peasants. This section, once supporting the Congress and later the BJP in the Thane rural areas, has floated its own platform -- the Kunbi Sena -- and has been taking part in the joint struggles with the CPI(M) on these demands for the last two years. Vishwanath Patil founder leader of Kunbi Sena and Gajanan Patil vice president of Zilla Parishad addressed this gathering along with Manik Sarkar. They declared that Kunbi Sena would fight along with the CPI(M) both the Congress and the BJP which have betrayed the common people, particularly the peasantry by implementing the neo-liberal economic policies.


Prabhakar Sanzgiri said in his speech that the alliance of the Kunbi Sena and the CPI(M) was a significant development for entire Maharashtra as a major toiling caste group, showing class-consciousness was turning to class struggle. He elaborated the  main demands for which the Nirdhar rally was organised.


Manik Sarkar in his speech listed the various measures undertaken by the Left Front government for the uplift of the tribal people such as formation and functioning of the autonomous tribal district councils, education of the tribal children and the promotion of the tribal language. He welcomed the joint struggles launched by the CPI(M) and the Kunbi Sena and expressed confidence that this would strengthen the effort to forge a broad united front as a viable alternative to the Congress and BJP.


The Nirdhar rally at Vajreshwasri was attended by a large section of Kunbis and other non-adivasi peasants.


With the assembly elections due in a few months in Maharashtra, the present Congress-NCP government has few achievements to show and many failures to its credit. The Sena-BJP alliance is trying to cash in on these failures but the people have not forgotten its corrupt performance and rabid communalisation, which had resulted in its ouster only four years ago. That the people are looking for an alternative is clear by the tremendous response to the visit of the Tripura CM in these two districts.