People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 19, 2006
an ambience of festivity and splashes of bright colours, the workers and
employees, of the organised, of the unorganised, and of the informal sector,
raised a resonant cry for the establishment of the seventh Left Front government
in Bengal. They had gathered in
their lakhs at the massive Yuva Bharati stadium at Salt Lake at the call of the
CITU on March 12, 2006.
entire atmosphere was filled with glad tidings.
There were jubilant faces all around, of women, men, and children, some
of the latter riding piggyback. The
sunny afternoon with occasional and fleeting cloud covers, the azure blue sky,
and the sweep of the westerly breeze saw workers-employees in their lakhs
filling up the stadium.
men wore white and flowing overshirts with the election slogans of the Bengal
Left Front emblazoned on them. The women were draped in red saris and light-coloured
short-sleeved aprons with the election symbols of the Left Front prominently
displayed on the apparel.
roads leading to the stadium, quite crowded by the time the mass songs had
commenced on the man-height dais, had myriads of Red banners streaming in the
freshening wind. Each carried an exhortation to the people to make sure that the
pro-people and pro-poor governance of the Left Front was allowed to continue
triumphantly in the days to come.
green of the stadium was covered in triple thick industrial tarpaulin to make
sure that the fragile grass top did not suffer any damage whatsoever. The rows and rows of Red chairs that the CITU leadership of
the state occupied at the foot of the deep Red of the dais was a treat against
the turquoise of the wide tartan track, which had already been declared a ‘no
go’ zone by the rallyists themselves.
the time veteran leader of the CITU and former Bengal chief minister, Jyoti Basu
started to speak, the stadium was quite packed, and his address was punctuated
with great rolling sound waves of approval.
Basu began by pointing to history. He said that the building up to the electoral
win of the Bengal Left Front back in 1977 was a period of tribulation, and of
struggle. The mass of the people had the final word and the Left Front was swept
Basu then briefly enumerated the principal achievements of the Left Front
government. He said that the
communists and the Left had to undergo terrible times during the period the
Congress was in office here in Bengal. Comrades
of the CPI(M) and other Left parties were killed, very often with extreme
CPI(M) and CITU workers were incarcerated, tortured, and then let off
incapacitated and crippled. Dozens
were killed each year in ‘incidents of firing’ within the jail compound
itself. The tirade of torture and
mayhem would not finish off the communists and the Left because they had their
base firmly rooted amidst the masses.
was the task of the masses of the people to ensure that a government that always
looked to their interests and put its heart out in ensuring that the development
and growth of the state continued unabated, be allowed to make a sweep of a
return to office with a greater majority than ever.
Basu explained the pro-worker stand of the Left Front government (“we do not
send out the police to break up a legitimate struggle of the working class”)
and declared that the Left Front would never move away from the side of the
working class in their legitimate struggles.
The CPI(M) leader repeated what he had said several dozens of times in
the recent past and told the workers: do
not give up your right to strike but treat it as a final weapon of the working
Basu pointed out unambiguously that industrialisation and urbanisation, two
ongoing streams of development that the state enjoyed now, would never mean any
encroachment on land that was fertile and produced crops several times a year. The fallow and barren land plots, and very occasionally the
single-crop plots, and then again in isolation, would be utilised provided
the concerned kisans gave their consent to the LF government for doing so.
usual critical self while speaking of the directionless opposition in Bengal,
Jyoti Basu described the Pradesh Congress and the Trinamul Congress as political
outfits, which were divorced from principles, and devoid of the mores of
morality. He attacked the Trinamul
Congress for the crime of welcoming the religious fundamentalist BJP in the
state –– although to little or no political effect.
Basu concluded with a rousing cry for the final task of setting up a socialist
society and said that till that happened, the task was to strengthen the
democratic movement and for doing that it was necessary to bring in the seventh
Left Front government in a continuum of three decades of pro-people existence.
Bhattacharjee started by referring to the progress achieved in Bengal under the
Left dispensation from 1977. ‘The
people,’ said the chief minister ‘would decide whether we have progressed or
have slid back in this period of time in terms of democratisation and
development.’ Noting that 72 per
cent of the land here in Bengal remained now with the peasant proprietors,
Buddhadeb went on to point out that, the state topped the all-India list in
massive industrial development has marked the past decade in Bengal with a
concurrent generation of employment. Factories,
said Buddhadeb, were coming up in large numbers in such sectors as
iron-and-steel, petro-chemicals, IT, cement, leather, plastic, and automotives.
The factories that had to down shutters directly because of the wrong
policy perspective of the successive union governments were being rejuvenated in
a meaningful manner.
than 3300 workers of 230 closed factories were in regular receipt of an
unemployment wage. Seven lakhs of
old and physically infirm workers have been made part of the bhavishyanidhi
scheme. Buddhadeb also mentioned
the PF scheme for the construction workers, in operation for five years now.
chief minister affirmed that the Left Front government would continue to look to
the interest of the hawkers in the city and in railway stations, while ensuring
that the pedestrians had a right of way as well.
Buddhadeb concluded by declaring to a rousing applause that the people
provided the source of strength of the Left Front and that people would have the
others who addressed the meeting were CITU leaders Mohd Amin, Mrinal Das, Subhas
Chakraborti, and Shyamal Chakraborty who presided over the rally.