People's Democracy

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

Vol. XXX

No. 15

April 09, 2006



Authoritarianism & Opportunism Will Be Defeated


Prakash Karat meeting with Karunanidhi in Chennai recently

A A Nainar



THE stage has been set for the 13th general elections for the legislative assembly in the state of Tamilnadu. With the opportunistic cross over of the MDMK to the AIADMK led front, the battle lines have now been very clearly drawn. It is almost a straight fight between the two fronts i.e., the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA), supported by the Left parties and the AIADMK-led Democratic Peoples Front (DPF). Of course, there are other marginal groupings trying to cobble up fronts. One such is led by the BJP and the other by cine-actor-turned-politician Vijaykant-led DMDK, which is yet to test the waters in any elections.
On March 5, 2006 when all eyes were on Vaiko, the leader of MDMK, who was to participate in a political conference of the DMK at Trichirapalli, he quietly walked into the Poes Garden residence of the AIADMK leader Jayalalitha and settled for 35 seats out of the total 234 constituencies in the state as against the offer of 22 seats made by the DPA. Almost in a week’s time both the fronts had firmed up their alliances and seat sharing arrangements (see table below). 
































During the 12th general elections for the assembly, the AIADMK-led alliance was a formidable front with Tamil Manila Congress, Congress and PMK as part of it and the Left parties supporting it. The DMK was then part of the BJP-led NDA. The AIADMK-led alliance won that election hands down. Immediately after assuming power in the state the Jayalalitha led government started implementing anti people, pro-reforms and authoritarian policies. She supported POTA, used it to arrest Vaiko and other political adversaries, brought a legislation banning religious conversions; hiked all user charges and tariffs; education and health sector were completely opened up to private and unscrupulous elements; workers were terrorised by banning strikes and agitations; more than 1.75 lakh striking state government employees were dismissed at the stroke of a pen; criminal cases were foisted on opposition leaders on flimsy grounds; news papers and periodicals were intimidated and muzzled thereby depriving the freedom of fourth estate, etc. 
Then came the elections for the Lokh Sabha during May 2004. By then, the DMK had come out of the NDA and this enabled all parties to come together to defeat the authoritarian AIADMK. It was decisively defeated in all the 39 constituencies in the state, enabling the formation of a secular government led by the Congress at the centre. Thereafter, although there is no change in the basic positions taken by the AIADMK government, it started rolling back certain anti-people measures taken earlier. Closer to the elections, there had been cascading cash and other benefits in the form flood relief, free cycle and text books to students, mobile phones to SHGs, etc. 
It must be recalled that the CPI(M) on the basis of its 18th state conference (Nagercoil) resolution has been campaigning all along since December 2004 against this anti-people authoritarian AIADMK government. The painstaking efforts had fructified in the firming up of the DPA front, supported by the CPI(M) and CPI. All the political parties have plunged into campaign. 
The state elections will take place in a single day schedule, on May 8. The campaign ends on May 6. Hardly four weeks are left and it is fervently hoped by all democratic-minded people of the state that the authoritarian forces supported by rank opportunists will be defeated and a democratic government will be installed in Tamilnadu. Earlier, from 1st of March, Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau Member of the CPI (M) visited Tamilnadu and addressed public meetings at Marthandam (Kanyakumari dt), Vasudevanallur, a constituency allotted to CPI (M) in Tirunelveli district, Tuticorin and Kovilpatti. 
Two weeks earlier, the CPI (M) campaign took off to a colourful start on 17th March with the visit of its General Secretary Prakash Karat. He addressed a massively attended public meeting at Perambur constituency which is allotted to CPI (M) and kick started the state wide election campaign. On 18th, he had addressed another public meeting at Coimbatore. During those same days, Brinda Karat visited Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam addressing large public meetings in those places.