People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 10, 2008
Massive Rally Calls For A Sixth LF Govt
THE united and vigorous urge of the people of Tripura for formation of the sixth Left Front government in the state, found powerful articulation, among other things, through the Left Front's mammoth central rally organised at Astabal Maidan at Agartala on February 3 afternoon. It came as a befitting sequel to the similar rallies organised over the last two months by the workers, women and youth organisations calling for the formation of a sixth Left Front government with a view to ensuring sustained development in Tripura. The February 3 rally also saw huge beelines of Maidan-bound rallyists from far and near of all the four districts in the state, engulfing this capital town and expressing determination to uphold the ongoing drive for development by returning the Left Front to power for the fourth time in a row.
Presided over by the CPI(M) state secretary Baidyanath Majumder and addressed among others by the party's general secretary Prakash Karat, Polit Bureau member and the state's chief minister Manik Sarkar and Central Committee member Aghore Debbarma, the rally started at 2 pm when thousands of rallyists were racing with time to reach anywhere near the rally site. Yet, even when the programme was drawing to a close at about 5.00 pm, streams of people kept pouring in.
Baidyanath Majumder expressed his conviction that nothing could stop the Left Front from coming to power once again, because its unwavering commitment to the people has wiped out all sorts of opposition to it at each and every election held, ever since the last Assembly election in 2003. On the other hand, the Congress party has lost power in several states over this period due to its anti-people policies. He reminded the people how the Congress party tried to eliminate the CPI(M) from the state through semi-fascist means during the 1988-93 coalition regime, but in vain. Now, the ravenous cry of the Congress to return to power once again through all sorts of heinous conspiracy must be foiled by the never failing vigil of the people, winning over newer sections in favour of the Left Front.
Aghore Debbarma referred to the sea change brought about by the Left Front government in all spheres of life in Tripura, especially of the tribals languishing for decades in the darkness of backwardness and neglect due to the Congress party during its prolonged spell in power after independence, while the same Congress party does not feel any scruple to try return to power by joining hands with extremists aiming to devastate Tripura. He maintained that while the Left Front has been a boon to the tribals of Tripura, the extremists' overground face and Congress party's ally, i.e. the INPT, has been a bane for the tribals despite its guise of pro-tribalism and has ceaselessly split to become almost a nonentity. But, he cautioned, the state electorate must be always alert without either complacence or impatience, so as to foil any conspiracy that may be up the Congress-INPT's sleeves.
Addressing the rally, Prakash Karat applauded the pro-people achievements and policies of the Left Front government in Tripura, West Bengal and Kerala --- in stark contrast with the burning problems of the country getting intensified because of the anti-people policies of several state governments and the centre. He cited the concrete example of present food security in Tripura in contrast to the devastation of agriculture and farmers in even a developed state like Maharashtra. He also referred to the Congress-led UPA government at the centre paying no heed to the ceaseless Left demand for adequately assisting agriculture and farmers in the country, in order to cope with the food insecurity looming large in the horizon through the imports of wheat at high prices. Karat maintained that the very few concessions to the poor like REGA, half-heartedly granted by the UPA government due to the Left pressure, are being fully implemented in the Left-ruled states like Tripura. He referred to the ceaseless Left pressure on the UPA government that it must desist from hiking the price of petro-products, increasing foreign direct investments in several vital sectors and above all falling prey to the pressure of US imperialism to bring India to its fold. The adamantly anti-people policies of the Congress party as well as also its capitulation before communalism has been adding to the threat of the fascist BJP at the national level. Therefore, Karat said, an anti-communal, Left and democratic alternative must be strengthened at all cost by further strengthening the Left Front governments that are making possible stupendous progress in agriculture, education etc and, above all, defending the country's unity and integrity. He sarcastically lashed out at the Congress-led UPA government promulgating president's rule in Nagaland on the pretext of fighting insurgency while the Congress is itself colluding with the insurgents in Tripura, just as late Shri Rajiv Gandhi had conspired with the TNV extremists so as to dislodge the Left Front and grab power in 1988. As the Congress party has ceaselessly been weakening the country by endangering its economy and democracy as also its unity and integrity, the people of Tripura must maintain their militant unity by forming the sixth Left Front government to uphold the ideals of numerous martyrs who have laid down their lives in Tripura while fighting the fissiparous forces, he concluded.
Manik Sarkar said the determination and dedication of the Left Front government has resulted in concrete and qualitative changes in several socio-economic spheres in Tripura. This is clear from the line of industrialists and entrepreneurs coming forward, even on the eve of this election, to express their interest in investing in Tripura with assistance from the state government. A new fervour, a new orientation and dynamism are writ large in all spheres of the state. Sarkar expressed the hope that such a heartening situation would be further consolidated and expanded through a vigorous verdict of the people in favour of the Left Front. He reminded the people of Tripura that in the past the Congress government in the state and at the centre sat idle while the Communist Party and the Upajati Ganamukti Parishad had been struggling tooth and nail for balanced development of the backward tribals and Bengali refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan and for maintaining peace and harmony. Then, he reminisced, following the successful performance of the first two Left Front governments in the state, the Congress party joined hands with the heinous extremist outfit TNV to dislodge the Left Front government in 1988. This resulted in a drastic change in the entire political culture of Tripura through criminalisation of politics --- ravishing democracy and social justice, and devastating all developmental process. Now, with the UPA government's existence depending on the Left support, the Congress is too demoralized to democratically fight an election in Tripura and is conspiring and colluding with the extremists. But, he affirmed, the scenario of 1988 can by no means be repeated in 2008, because of a radical change in the ground situation, with massive erosion of Congress support base and debilitation of the extremists in Tripura over the past few years. As the Left Front government is not complacent over its achievements and is aiming to take bigger and bolder strides towards development of the state, Sarkar exhorted the people to be both alert and expedient unto the last, and give a historic and massive mandate for the formation of a sixth Left Front government.
CPI's Srikumar Mukharjee and RSP's Geeta Sengupta, both hailing from West Bengal, also addressed the rally with inspiring words.
Meanwhile, releasing the Left Front's election manifesto at Dasaratha Deb Bhavan here a day before, Left Front convenor and parliament member Khagen Das detailed how the Left Front government is building a transparent, comprehensive, democratic and decentralised developmental administration as the key to the construction of a prosperous Tripura. This is exactly why the formation of a sixth Left Front government with a most massive mandate is the essential for peace and progress in the state. Delineating the salient feature of the manifesto, he said the Left Front pledges to expedite elimination of poverty and continually raise the standard of living of the state populace by consolidating the stupendous progress in agriculture and other sectors. It has prioritised drinking water supply, advancement of education, construction of the infrastructure, increasing opportunities of employment, forest protection, strengthening of the local self-governments including the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, and continued clampdown on insurgency to improve the law and order situation. Das pointed out that the 2003 poll pledges had been more than fulfilled despite the state's financial constraints, centre's apathy and the militants' and their political mentors' motivated destructive role to disrupt the development process. Now an outstandingly massive mandate in the 10th assembly election would embolden the Left Front government to take greater strides towards a glorious future, he asserted.
CPI(M) state secretary Baidyanath Majumder and state secretariat member Gautam Das, besides CPI's Prasatna Kapali and RSP's Sudarshan Bhattacharjee, were present at the press conference where the poll manifesto was released.