People's Democracy

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


No. 35

August 29, 2004



CPI(M)’s Agitation Campaign On Five Issues

D D Ramanandan


MORE than one thousand Party functionaries from 21 out of the 22 districts of Jharkhand attended the first ever state-level general body meeting of the Party, which was addressed by Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury on August 23, 2004 at local town hall, Ranchi. This meeting followed a two day meeting of the state committee.


The state committee decided to launch an agitation campaign on five political issues against the Arjun Munda-led BJP state government in Jharkhand. After campaigning on these issues, the Party will hold massive demonstrations at all district headquarters on September 9. This will be after the week long campaign programmes from August 25 to September 1 to be held in all villages and mohallas by each Party branch as per the central committee call.


The two day state committee meeting was also attended by Polit Bureau member Biman Basu. Addressing the state committee meeting, Biman Basu pointed out that the central committee elected Jharkhand as one of the priority states with expectation of Party’s rapid growth and rapid development of mass movement and mass organisations.  He pointed out that in the present political situation and existing realities in Jharkhand there is an immense opportunity for the Party’s growth and building of mass movement.  There is a gap between the existing opportunities, prestige of the Party and political requirements and the level of organisation and it mass base. Hence, the urgent task is to give attention for building up the movement and the Party, he stressed.


The state committee decided that the state conference of the Party would be held on December 10-12, 2004 at Ranchi. It also decided, in consultation with the Polit Bureau, the electoral tactics for the ensuing assembly elections in the state, scheduled to take place in February 2005. The tactics mainly include removal of the BJP state government, effort to avoid splitting of secular votes, increasing the strength of the Left and the Party on similar line as the party decided in the last Lok Sabha election.


Sitaram Yechury in his speech to the general body meeting explained the present complex political situation facing the country and the tasks before the Party. He emphasised the need to campaign amongst the people and build a mass movement from below seeking implementation of the positive aspects of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the UPA government at the centre. This movement should also be based on other just demands of the working people and socially oppressed sections, said Yechury. He charged the BJP-led NDA of trying to subvert the democratic process by paralysing the functioning of the parliament so that their previous government’s misdeeds are not exposed and their anti-people measures could not be reversed. They were also trying to launch fascistic communal attacks in order to create divisions amongst people, divert their attention from the burning problems of the people and suppress the democratic movement of the people.  Referring to the BJP’s campaign on tainted ministers, Yechury said the BJP has no moral right to talk about the tainted ministers when its own top leaders who were tainted by serious charges functioned as key ministers in the NDA government.  He said the CPI(M) and the Left always stood for ridding the parliament and legislative assemblies of persons with criminal and corrupt antecedents.


Earlier, addressing the general body meeting CPI(M) state secretary J S Majumdar explained the decisions of the two days state committee meeting. 




The foremost issue to be taken up in the campaign would be the vicious attack launched by the BJP government on the democratic rights of the people. It is resurrecting old cases against opposition leaders and functionaries and is filing new cases in a planned attempt to terrorise the opposition and keep them engaged in legal cases before the ensuing assembly elections. At the same time it had withdrawn 60 criminal cases against 585 persons who were involved in the demolition of Babri Masjid. Under the cover of withdrawal of cases filed against those involved in the Jharkhand movement, the Arjun Munda government has withdrawn 340 criminal cases against BJP and Sangh Parivar functionaries. Most of the cases had no relation with the Jharkhand movement.


Apart from the JMM president Shibu Soren, Congress MP and former legislative group leader, Furkhan Ansari, has also been sent to jail. The present JMM legislative group leader is on bail. Similarly CPI state secretary and MP, Bhubaneswar Prasad Mehta is also on bail.  Many other opposition leaders and functionaries are either in jail or outside on bail.


Another glaring instance of the BJP government’s drive against opposition leaders is the revival of a 20 year old case against CPI(M)’s state committee member, 76 year old Ramanika Gupta. This case was filed against her when she was conducting a movement for coal workers under the banner of CITU and fighting for rehabilitation of displaced persons in Hazaribagh district. Similarly many cases against several district committee members of CPI(M) in Chatra district have been resurrected even after the DIG of police, after investigation, found them innocent and accordingly submitted report which was placed on the floor of the Bihar assembly long time back. A case has been filed against the Party’s district secretary of Koderma on the written instructions of the then SP on July 24 because of his “crime” of submitting a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner one year before regarding the death of a tribal women due to the negligence of the government and corruption involving the government officials.


Arjun Munda government is trying to gag the voice of the people by using police force. The police attacked the government employees at Vidhan Sabha gate during the dharna recently.  Even media reporters and press photographers were not spared in the lathicharge. To prevent any photographers taking pictures of their brutality, the police smashed their cameras.


The second issue is the attack on opposition leader Shibu Soren.


The third issue is the refusal of the government to hold panchayat elections in the state despite high court order, open criticism of the governor Ved Prakash Marwah and criticism by the 12th Finance Commission. Entire opposition is united in favour of holding panchayat election immediately, whereas BJP and its allies have serious differences on holding panchayat election, which in fact led to a political crisis within the BJP and between the BJP and its allies.


The fourth issue is the attempt of the BJP to divide the people on divisive slogans with a view to divide the secular votes. The unity of the secular votes led to the rout of the BJP in the recent Lok Sabha election in the state. Keeping this in view, the BJP is fomenting communal divisions in the state. The Arjun Munda government announced its intention of imposing a ban on cow slaughter and on religious conversions. Among its other divisive attempts include creating caste divisions by raising caste issues; divisions between tribals and non tribals; linguistic divisions between Bengali and Urdu speaking people; raising regional sentiment against West Bengal targeting the Left and against Bihar by targeting the RJD.


The fifth issue, the state committee decided to pursue, is the issue of large-scale corruption of Arjun Munda government.