People's Democracy

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

Vol. XXX

No. 09

February 26, 2006

 Massive Rally Vows To Fight Congress

And  BJP In Assam Elections

Isfaqur Rahman


THE CPI(M) has been unrelenting in its effort to form a third alternative to the Congress and the BJP. The process has already begun and it would soon be translated into reality. This alternative would be based on broad principles of pro-people policies, including an independent foreign policy, and would emerge through common struggles, announced CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat at a mammoth rally organised by the Assam state committee of the CPI(M) in Guwahati on February 12.


Addressing the huge gathering at Judges’ Field, Karat said proposals in this regard had already been sent to democratic and secular forces. However, the UPA government at the centre should stay till the third alternative had taken a concrete shape, he added.


Referring to the fast approaching assembly elections in Assam, Karat stressed the need to oust the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government from power and resist the BJP. The first and foremost task of the CPI(M) in Assam is to strengthen the Left unity and then to make electoral adjustment with other democratic and secular forces. He laid special emphasis on the need for ensuring Left representation inside the Assam assembly and exhorted the people to ensure the victory of Left candidates in the upcoming elections. Only Left representatives could champion the cause of the toiling people, said Karat.



 “Land, food and employment” and “Peace-Unity and Development of Assam” were the central slogans of the Guwahati rally. However, the upcoming elections in Assam had added significance and the rally acquired the dimension of a political battle. The CPI(M) launched massive campaigns and struggles throughout the state in the month of August-September, 2005 on the demand for land to the landless people, granting pattas to the land holders, strengthening the PDS and expansion of BPL schemes, lifting of ban on appointment and filling up of vacancies, granting ST status to the tea-tribes, Koch-Rajbongshis, Maran, Matak etc. massive investments for the development of infrastructure and employment generation  in Assam. There was massive response and participation of the people in local level and district level mobilisation, demonstrations etc. on these popular issues.


The February 12 rally was, in a sense, a culmination of the popular and continuous movements and struggles. Thousands of people from nook and cranny of the state participated. There was an unending flow of people to the rally ground from the early morning. They came from far-flung areas-from Karimganj in the South to Bhutan border in the North, from Sadia in the far east to Dhubri in the West - and they came by buses and trains.


This was the biggest rally ever organised by the CPI (M) in the state capital since the last 26 years. The mass rally mirrored the unique unity and struggles of the people of multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-ethnic state of Assam. People belonging to all communities - Hindus and Muslims, Assamese and Bengalis, tribals and non-tribals carried Red flags and banners and participated with courage and conviction, gusto and enthusiasm, pledge and determination. The slogan was: “Unity and Action, not Division and Inaction”


Earlier, Party volunteers took out a motor-bike procession at 9-30 a m in the morning from Judges’ Field to the Borjhar Airport and warmly greeted and welcomed the Party general secretary Prakash Karat and Polit Bureau member Biman Basu at the airport. The volunteers led by senior Party leaders and central committee members, Hemen Das and Noorul Huda, received the leaders with flower bouquets and traditional Assamese ‘Gamochas’. Immediately after the warmth reception, they were taken in a ‘motorcade’ bedecked with Red flags from the Airport to the rally ground. At the Judges Field too, thousands of people greeted the leaders.




Addressing the 20,000 strong gathering, Prakash Karat said that in the last Parliamentary elections the Left had given a call for overthrowing the BJP-led NDA government which sought to destroy the secular democratic character of modern India and install a secular government at the centre in its place. The people of the country responded to this call and also strengthened the Left representation inside the parliament. As a result, the Congress-led UPA came to power.  The Left extended outside support to the UPA government only to keep the BJP away from power and on the basis of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) adopted by the UPA. However, the UPA regime, in spite of stiff resistance and opposition from the Left, has started diluting and violating the CMP and accelerated the pace of economic liberalisation through disastrous route of disinvestments and privatisation. Citing the latest instance, he said, the Delhi and Mumbai Airports were being privatised in the name of modernisation. “We are not against modernisation but against privatisation in the garb of modernisation”, he said. Criticising the anti-people policies of the Government, Karat reminded the gathering that the Congress has always been a Party of the capitalists and landlords and the CPI(M) is diametrically opposed to it. At the same time he highlighted how the UPA Government has been forced to change its policies on some counts and how certain gains have been achieved due to the effective intervention of the Left parties. Both its MPs intervention in parliament and popular struggles outside the parliament forced the UPA government to adopt NREG Act, to retrace its steps on BHEL disinvestment etc, he said.


Karat asserted that whenever there would be a clash between the government and the people, the CPI(M) would always stand by the people. “We cannot be held responsible if the UPA government is alienated from the masses because of its anti-people policies”, he warned. 

Reacting to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s call at the Hyderabad conclave to make the Congress the largest single party, Karat said “the Congress would be wiped out in Kerala and West Bengal in the coming assembly elections. In Assam too, there is no record of the Congress coming back to power for a second consecutive term (after the dark days of emergency)”. He exhorted the people of the state to strengthen the Left unity as also the Left-secular unity to dislodge the Congress and defeat the BJP in the coming assembly elections in Assam. 

The CPI(M) general secretary came down heavily on the UPA government for obliging the Bush administration and showing willingness to change Indian foreign policy at the behest of US imperialism. “The US wants to make India a client state and that is why it is meddling in our internal affairs which the CPI(M) will never allow”, Karat said adding that “US ambassador David C Mulford was trying to become a ‘Viceroy’ of the British days”. The Indian Govt. stance in the IAEA meeting and voting against Iran on its nuclear programme was highly reprehensible, he added. Karat also vowed to go ahead with the countrywide programme of protest being organised by the CPI(M) against the visit of US president George W Bush on March 2.


The public meeting was presided over by senior Party leader and central committee member Noorul Huda. Earlier, the awe-inspiring and heart-rending presentations of revolutionary songs and recitation in the rally ground by the legendary Sarma duo, Dilip and Sudakshina and also by mass singers Ghana Deka, Indira Boruah, Humayun Choudhury, Feddus Khan, Rishiraj Sarma and Raktima Hujuri added colour and vigour to the rally.  It is also heartening to note that almost all Party members and sympathisers of Guwahati city cooked chapattis, rotis etc. in their own houses and distributed to their fellow comrades coming from distant areas. It is estimated that more than 50,000 chapatis were collected and distributed amongst the rallyists.




The public meeting began with a resolution placed by state secretariat member Ananta Deka condemning the killing of nine persons by police at Kakopathar in Tinsukia district on February 10. The residents of Kakopathar had organised an anti-Army protest after one of their own died in Army custody on February 8. While condemning the killing, the resolution demanded proper inquiry into the incident and exemplary punishment to those responsible for the heinous killings.


Addressing the rally, senior Party leader Hemen Das lambasted the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in Assam for its misdeeds, misrule and failures on all fronts. He also criticised the BJP-RSS for launching hate-campaign against the religious minorities  and for stepping up communal offensives in the state.  “The prevailing situation in Assam has been explosive”, said the CPI(M) leader and added, “innocent people are being killed by police and security forces. Law and order situation is fast deteriorating, police-stations and post offices are burnt down and extremist violence continues.” In his hard-hitting speech, Hemen Das blasted  the Gogoi government for violating land laws and mercilessly evicting people from their dwelling places and for handing over these lands to contractors and big business. The public distribution system has been dismantled and the health service has been reduced to a state of ruin. The problems of unemployment in Assam has also assumed alarming proportions during Gogoi’s tenure, pointed out Hemen Das.


CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Biman Basu in his speech thundered against both the Congress and the BJP and called for the consolidation of the Left parties in Assam so that a broader electoral understanding between the Left, democratic and secular parties can dislodge the corrupt and anti-people Congress government in the coming assembly elections. He said, “where the Congress is ruling, people are suffering, where BJP is ruling people are terribly suffering”. Basu drew a parallel to the police firing at Kakopathar in Congress-ruled Assam with that of Kalinga Nagar killing of tribals in BJP-BJD ruled Orissa.  Denial of justice, loot and plunder, eviction and corruption, killing and tortures have become the order of the day in both Congress and BJP ruled states, he said.  Basu squarely blamed the Congress governments for the present ills in Assam and its backwardness. “In spite of huge natural resources, the state is still lagging far behind”, he lamented and called upon the people to strengthen the Left movement in Assam on the issues connected with land, food and employment and also for speedy development of the State.

Noorul Huda who chaired the  pubic meeting also criticised the present Congress government in Assam for its anti-people policies and lambasted the saffron brigade on the charge of conducting vicious communal campaigns.


The February 12 Guwahati rally was, undoubtedly, the largest Left rally organised in recent times in the state. Participation of thousands of people with robust enthusiasm instilled a sense of confidence and zeal amongst the members and sympathisers of the CPI(M) in particular and Left democratic forces in general about ringing in a change in the state.