(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 27, 2008
BENGAL PANCHAYAT POLLS
Reactionary Gang-Up Bound To Fail Yet Again
IN the run-up to the panchayat elections in West Bengal, the grand alliance of all reactionary forces forged during the violent siege of Nandigram is sought to be consolidated against the CPI(M)-led Left Front. During any election in West Bengal, irrespective of public political posturing, at the ground level, there were always attempts for a `mahajot’ – an understanding between the Congress, Trinamul Congress and the BJP – to unitedly take on the Left Front at the hustings. However, despite such a gang up, they have always failed in their efforts to defeat the Left Front.
On this occasion, this grand alliance is being conceived on a much larger scale. The effort is to replicate the forging of a reactionary combination with the Congress, the Trinamul Congress, the Hindu communal RSS/BJP, some Muslim fundamentalist organisations with the Maoists and foreign-funded NGOs. This combination was ably assisted by sections of the `corporate media’ during the Nandigram disturbances. Their desperation, throwing to the winds all political niceties of any obligation to explain to the people the rationale behind this combination, is expressing itself in launching murderous attacks against the CPI(M) workers. Expectedly, the so-called Maoists are in the lead in mounting such attacks.
So far, this year, in 2008, thirteen CPI(M) comrades have been targeted and murdered by these `Maoists’. Since March 2006, through 2007, nineteen CPI(M) cadres were killed by these very elements. The `Maoists’ are, thus, acting as the murderous mercenary agents of the forces of reaction.
The three-tier panchayat system was institutionalised in Bengal soon after the Left Front emerged victorious following the defeat of the Emergency. It, thus, substantially predates the Constitutional amendment brought by the late Rajiv Gandhi government institutionalising the panchayati raj system in the entire country.
The panchayat elections are normally scheduled mid-way between two assembly elections. They, thus, serve both as a people’s verdict on the performance of the state government and also as a pointer to the shifts in policies that the people expect the state government to undertake in their favour. Desperate as they have been for over three decades, this grand alliance of reactionary forces seek to defeat the Left Front in order to consolidate themselves for a victory in the next assembly elections. However, once again, that shall not be so.
During the course of the last three decades, thousands of CPI(M) cadres have been martyred in the struggles to defend the gains of the land reforms and the panchayati raj decentralisation of democracy. During the course of the last three years itself, 159 CPI(M) cadres were murdered by these reactionary forces. The reactionary combine must remember that for a decade since 1967, when the naxalites (today’s `Maoists’) split away from the CPI(M) giving the slogan of “people’s war” a ghastly semi-fascist terror was unleashed against the CPI(M) claiming the lives of thousands and displacing thousands of others from their homes.
Yet, when democracy was restored in 1977, undeterred by such semi-fascist terror, the people of West Bengal reposed their faith in the CPI(M) and the Left Front. They have continued to do so, for over three decades, in defence of their gains under the Left Front rule which the reactionary combine seeks to reverse.
It is not surprising that the foreign-funded NGOs who were in the forefront in decrying violence at Nandigram, engineered in the first instance by the reactionary combine itself, are maintaining a deliberate and eloquent silence when such murderous attacks are taking place against the CPI(M) cadres. This is not surprising because these so-called `civil society movements’ seek to provide `legitimacy’ to this reactionary grand alliance and, thus, are integral to it.
That all reactionary forces will combine to try and thwart the advance of Communist-led progressive forces is nothing new. The stirring opening paragraph of the `Communist Manifesto’ speaks of the holy alliance of all reactionary forces of Europe against the rising Communist force. Things have not changed since then and they shall not either till a new correlation of class forces is brought about favouring the people under the leadership of the Communist-led Left Front.
We are confident that the people of West Bengal who have heroically emerged victorious in all previous political battles will do so once again in these crucial forthcoming panchayat elections.