(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 07, 2008
Amra Ram Jaipur Jayega
“We have defeated the feudal forces in Dhod and now we will defeat them in Datta Ramgarh too” asserted Amra Ram, CPI(M) central committee member and one of the most popular leaders of the Party in Rajasthan with a vibrant image of being a fighter for the farmers and downtrodden people’s interests. He is the lone CPI(M) MLA in the state representing Dhod constituency for three terms.
But in this election Amra Ram is contesting from the neighbouring Datta Ramgarh constituency as Dhod became a reserved constituency in the delimitation exercise. And the man he is fighting is Narain Singh, a former PCC chief and a six time MLA from Datta Ramgarh. He is known to command most of the 62,000 odd Jat votes among the 1,89,000 voters in the constituency.
Given this fact, one couldn’t help but wonder whether Amra Ram’s confidence is misplaced. But then Amra Ram had done it before also. He had defeated Ramdev Singh Meharia, again a former PCC chief and six time winner from Dhod in 1989. So, will he be the giant killer once again? After spending a day with Amra Ram during his campaigning in the dusty interior villages of Datta Ramgarh constituency, some 35 km from Sikar, we were happy to see all our doubts vanishing. The kind of mass response Amra Ram is evoking from the people was amazing. Everywhere there was this slogan being lustily shouted by everyone “Lal Lal lehrayega, Amra Ram Jaipur jayega” (Red Flag will flutter, Amra Ram will go to Jaipur). From aged women perched on stationery tractor trailers to scores of farmers and youth sitting and standing on every available space, they were all showering their love on Amra Ram. A farmer Madhav Ram in the village Chiyala put it succinctly “Narain Singh is winning for the last so many years yet he has done nothing for us. And here is a man who always fought for the interests of farmers of the entire state. We will vote for him”.
The image of Amra Ram as an uncompromising fighter for the interests of farmers and working people is a big factor in this election. The CPI(M) led farmers struggle successfully achieved its demands, whether it be release of water from Indira Gandhi canal or total roll back of hike in electricity tariff, that too overcoming the brutal repression unleashed by Vasundhara Raje government. And Amra Ram as the lone MLA of the Party effectively waged these struggles in the assembly as also outside. We came across a man Murli Manohar Mishra belonging to Baya village near Datta Ramgarh. He is living in Assam doing some business. “I have specifically come back to help in the election of Amra Ram. I was one year junior to him in S K College in Sikar of which he was then president of the student’s union”, he said. Although he was a supporter of CPI(ML) till recently, he has decided to join the CPI(M) and Amra Ram after seeing the glorious way in which the Party fought for the interests of the downtrodden.
Asked why he is so confident about victory, Amra Ram said “This constituency has 51 gram panchayats and all the voters are farmers. In all the farmers agitations launched by the CPI(M), this tehsil farmers took active part. And those who participated in the struggles will remain with us”. He felt the BJP candidate is in no position to give a fight here.
At the next stop in the campaigning, Raghunathpur village, one could see the spontaneous response to the visit of Amra Ram. The village folk quickly gathered in the centre as the posse of jeeps descended. Sporting happy faces, they cheered every word spoken by Amra Ram. It was striking to see how well he was connecting with the audience. Even as his speech was hard hitting, it was also quite simple and liberally sprinkled with humour. He focussed on showing how both Congress and BJP are one and the same as far as anti-people, anti-farmer policies go and highlighted the militant struggles launched by CPI(M) overcoming the brutal repression of Vasundhara Raje government. The Congress party’s ineffectual role as the main opposition party was brought out humorously as one could see people break into hearty laughter. (Amra Ram interspersed his speeches with liberal doses of local dialect which went over our heads!) He attacked the refusal of Congress-led UPA government to bring down the prices of petrol and diesel despite the international price of crude coming down from $145 to around $145 and contrasted this with the reduction in aviation fuel. “Maybe they think those who travel by aeroplanes are poor people and you all as crorepatis” he added in jest drawing laughs once again. It was not just one-way bhashan from the leader. He engaged the audience, inviting questions and answering them in his typical, witty style.
An old farmer expressed the sentiments of the people of Datta Ramgarh constituency saying “I am happy to be provided with an opportunity for the first time to vote for such a big leader who always fought for us”. It remains to be seen how effectively they utilise it on December 4.
[from Datta Ramgarh (Rajasthan)
November 29, 2008]