People's Democracy

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

Vol. XXX

No. 15

April 09, 2006



Biman Basu, Buddhadeb Address Packed

Party Workers’ Meetings


OVERCOMING EC OBSTACLE: CPI(M) activists sporting Party symbol and slogans on their aprons


THE election campaign of the Bengal CPI(M) is always marked by a phased approach.  Initially careful planning is made and a program of indoor meetings of CPI(M) workers scheduled throughout the state.  The meetings are preceded and sometimes held concurrently with a vigorous house-to-house campaign in rural and urban areas. 


The bigger indoor meetings are addressed by both the state and the district-level leadership of the Bengal CPI(M) with zonal and local leadership speaking at smaller group meetings and mohalla meetings. 


This phase is followed by large and small election rallies with thousands of mass meetings held across the state.  Addressing the bigger rallies are members of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau, central committee, and state committee, and the leadership of the mass organisations. 


The recently departed secretary of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M), the late Anil Biswas had already spoken about the broad outline of the speaking agenda of the leadership of the Bengal CPI(M) right after the phased election schedule had been announced. 


The emphasis, in view of the ban imposed on graffiti and on banners and festoons, Anil Biswas had pointed out, would be on a bustling door-to-door campaign where the electorate would be met at close quarters and the political content of the assembly election explained.


Biman Basu, the newly-elected state secretary had later explained that the CPI(M) and Left Front workers would don overshirts and aprons with the election symbols of the Left Front and the names of the LF candidates prominently emblazoned on the apparel while carrying out the election campaign. 


This has since been followed, and at recent meetings of the CPI(M) workers in the Entally and Gardenreach areas, the latter filled with mohallas famed for producing highly skilled ostagars (master tailors), one saw thousands of such electioneering apparel being distributed among CPI(M) workers along with peaked caps. 


The stock soon stood exhausted and one saw cheery CPI(M) volunteers attired in their new draperies and outfits moving about the gullies and narrowest of ‘one-way’ by-lanes of Gardenreach and Entally, brightly displaying the election symbols of the Left Front while speaking with members of the electorate. 


Central committee member of the CPI(M) Mohd Amin is the Left Front candidate from Gardenreach.  Hashim Abdul Halim of the CPI(M) contests for the LF from Entally.


Bicycles, cycle-rickshaws, and auto-rickshaws have since started to put on sheets of cloth, cotton and water-proof polyester, and the election symbols of the CPI(M) and the Left Front flutter merrily in the gusting summer wind from the vehicles along the broad avenues of the metropolis as across the brick-layered and kutcha rural paths.


Elsewhere, two Polit Bureau members of the CPI(M) Biman Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have been busy criss-crossing across the state addressing packed CPI(M) workers’ meetings.


Biman Basu addressed two such meetings in Purulia.  In his address to the crowded workers’ meeting at Rabindra Bhavan at Purulia town, Biman Basu concentrated on the importance of taking to the electorate the political content of the election campaign of the CPI(M) and the Left Front.  As communists, said Biman Basu, it devolved on the CPI(M) workers to maintain a focused contact with the masses.


In maintaining the contact, the CPI(M) workers must also communicate to the people the political message of the election and counter as succinctly as possible, the deluge of lies, deceptions, and subterfuges being adopted by the Bengal opposition to gain a bit of political mileage in the run up to the polls.


Biman Basu was specifically concerned in his address about the need to speak to the mass across the political divide.  "Those who are not with us must be persuaded through arguments and via demonstrative presentations to realise the reasons why they should politically be with the Left Front rather than elsewhere", said Biman Basu.


This was the approach, or one of the political steps, that the CPI(M) workers had to put to practice towards ensuring improved margins for all the Left Front candidates in the assembly polls.


Addressing another CPI(M) workers’ meeting at the Jaipur school grounds, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member dwelled on the theme of development and pointed out that development did not comprise merely of bricks, and stones, and steel, and said that developing human resources formed the crux of the drive towards a better Bengal of tomorrow.  Biman Basu explained the industrial policy of the Left Front and noted that further improvement in the social infrastructure was always on the agenda of the CPI(M) and the Left Front.


Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee spoke at Baruipur and at Kultali recently.  Both centres are in the district of south 24 Parganas.  Speaking at Baruipur, Buddhadeb spoke at length on the theme of peace and democracy.


The CPI(M) leader noted how in the intense backdrop of mass struggles in the district, the base of democracy could be built up when the Left Front government was massively voted to office in 1977.  Buddhadeb said that the Left Front it was that could hold aloft the banners of peace and democracy. 


In the ambience of peace and with democratic norms flourishing, the state would develop fast and the process of development would be pro-people.  If the unsavoury and disruptive attempts of the unholy nexus of the Bengal opposition could be stopped in its tracks in the assembly polls, the process of development would be quick and smooth.  Buddhadeb addressed other meetings at Canning and Sonarpur as well.  All three meetings were packed with CPI(M) workers.


In his speeches at the three Kultali meetings, Buddhadeb was scathing in his criticism of the Bengal opposition.  He characterised the Pradesh Congress as a weak-kneed outfit that was ready to kow-tow to the Trinamul Congress, which was never short of energy or of disesteem for berating Pradesh Congress as the ‘subordinate team’ of the CPI(M). 


The Trinamul Congress on the other hand, pointed out the speaker, would not draw lessons from the drubbing it had received during the last Lok Sabha polls and would again cuddle up to the BJP as its political ally. 


The slogan of the opposition is to oppose the Left Front; it had little by way of an alternative programme.  On the other hand, said Buddhadeb, the Bengal Left Front was the product of a lot of blood, sweat and tears and it was never a mere electoral alliance.


The state has moved resolutely forward under the Left Front governance over the past 28-29 years.  It had slid back in a routine but alarming continuity during the Congress raj.  The people will ensure a big victory of the Left Front come the assembly polls.  As Buddhadeb ended his meetings, slogans would rise from the workers: ‘The seventh Left Front government will be set up!’


In contrast to the triumphant spirit marking the CPI(M) workers’ meetings, reports have come in that Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress-called meetings in places like Arambagh in the district of Hooghly in south Bengal – a meeting advertised as a ‘rally of tens of thousands of people’ – drew an audience of less than 200.  The Trinamul supreme cut short her speech to a minute or two and stormed away.


Elsewhere, the Pradesh Congress headquarters in central Kolkata saw a furious demonstration by a hundred-odd Congress supporters from north Kolkata in the presence of whose fury the Pradesh Congress chief, Pranab Mukherjee had to take the help of the state police to help him get inside the office. 


The irate Congress workers were miffed over the selection process of Congress candidates and were ready to back up their distress with a dose or two of violence.  Without the police intervention beforehand, things might have taken a very ugly turn. 


One recalls in this connection the physical discomfiture to which the Pradesh Congress chief was put to on May 15 last year when a bunch of aggrieved Congressmen physically heckled him at the PCC HQ, with the chief giving back as good as he got by unceremoniously kicking some the attackers who strayed too close to him.  (B P)