People's Democracy

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

Vol. XXX

No. 12

March 19, 2006



Workers’ Rally Pledges To Ensure Huge Win For The Left Front

B Prasant


AMIDST 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.


The 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.


The 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.


The 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.


The 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.


By 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.


Jyoti 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 to office.


Jyoti 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 brutality.


Innumerable 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.


It 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.


Jyoti 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 class.


Jyoti 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.


His 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.


Jyoti 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.


Buddhadeb 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 agricultural production. 


A 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. 


More 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. 


The 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 last word.


Among others who addressed the meeting were CITU leaders Mohd Amin, Mrinal Das, Subhas Chakraborti, and Shyamal Chakraborty who presided over the rally.