People's Democracy

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


No. 15

April 15, 2007

Commemorating 50 Years Of The First Communist Government In Kerala


Prakash Karat, S R Pillai, P Vijayan and other CPI(M) leaders leading the march in Thiruvananthapuram


THE golden jubilee celebrations of unified Kerala’s first elected government got off to a formal start at Thiruvanathapuram on April 5. All over the state, CPI(M), CPI and their mass organisations conducted various colourful programmes to mark the 50th anniversary of the first communist government of the state. The celebrations altogether evoked the memories of the historic day on which Kerala began its journey on the road of democratic governance. 


Inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations conducted by the LDF government, governor R L Bhatia described the EMS government as the harbinger of fundamental changes in Kerala society and polity. The 1957 cabinet was the best that the state had ever had, he said. The 1957 government had made far-reaching impact in the socio-political field in the state. Kerala had made rapid strides in several sectors during the last 50 years, raising the living standards of the people to international level. Kerala owed a lot to the first government for these achievements, governor said. 


Presiding over the function, chief minister V S Achuthanandan said that as a successor of the first EMS government, his government would go ahead with more and more people-oriented programmes. The government was committed to making the state self-sufficient in vegetable, milk and egg production and in providing houses to two lakh families in the coming two years. 


Formal inauguration of the golden jubilee celebrations was held at the old Assembly hall in the state secretariat complex, where the first session of the Kerala legislative assembly was convened. The governor presented mementos to members of the first Kerala assembly, Rosamma Punnoose, E Chandrasekharan Nair, P Govinda Pillai, R Prakasam, N M Pandarathil, R Balakrishna Pillai, K Sivadasan, Maleth Gopinathan Nair and Adv. Kalyanakrishnan Nair at the function. MLAs, cultural leaders and people from all walks of life gathered in the Assembly hall to witness the formal launching of celebrations. Earlier, chief minister, cabinet colleagues and MLAs offered floral tributes at the martyrs’ column there. The opposition boycotted the fortnight-long celebrations terming it ‘politically motivated’. 


Offering felicitations, speaker K Radhakrishnan said the 1957-59 Assembly had made history by enacting as many as 88 bills during the 28 months of its life. It laid foundations for the many achievements that Kerala had made later. That government was one with tremendous political will, he said. Ministers T U Kuruvila, N K Premachandran, Mathew T Thomas, C Divakaran, representing various constituents of the LDF addressed the function. Later, the chief minister inaugurated an exhibition of archives and manuscripts.




To commemorate the golden jubilee of the first Communist government, CPI(M) organised a huge public rally at the state capital. Party general secretary Prakash Karat inaugurated the rally. Addressing the huge rally, Karat said it was now a known fact that the US imperialism had tried to topple the Left governments in Kerala and West Bengal. The CIA had funded the struggle to bring down the left governments in Kerala in 1957-59, and in West Bengal in 1967-69, he pointed out. 


The first state government led by EMS Namboodiripad was a path-finder for other communist governments that came to power in the country later, he said. The EMS government had adopted certain landmark legislations such as the land reforms and the education bill. The government led by V S Achuthanandan too has piloted legislations on farmers’ debt relief and regulating self-financing colleges. 


The EMS government was dismissed by the Congress government at the centre invoking Article 356. Later, the Congress and BJP governments at the centre had used the same Article to dismiss state governments opposed to them. Since the CPI(M) adopted a principled stance, the UPA government could not topple the Samajwadi Party government in UP. Now, no government at the centre would dare to dismiss the Left Front governments in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura, he said. 


Prakash Karat said that the Left Front governments of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura were striving to find an alternative to overcome the threats posed by the liberalisation and privatisation policies adopted by the centre. The Left forces are in a constant fight against the imperialist forces that dictated these policies of the central government. In order to strengthen this fight more and more, people should be mobilised. The Left Front governments of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura were in the forefront to ensure that the rights of workers are protected, he said. 


The attempts by anti-Left forces of West Bengal to topple the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government by replicating a 'vimochana samaram' (‘liberation struggle’ that brought down the first communist government in Kerala) would not succeed, Karat said. The police entered Nandigram to restore peace in the area after anti-social forces unleashed terror in the region. The CPI(M) activists and sympathisers were driven out of Nandigram. A panchayat member of the CPI(M) was burnt alive and a young school girl was raped, he said. 


Despite the malicious campaign of the Trinamul Congress, Congress, BJP and the Naxalites, who had joined together against the Left Front government, the truth would come out. CPI(M) central committee has decided to launch a nationwide campaign to make the public aware of the real happenings at Nandigram, he said. 


He said the Party’s criticism against the judiciary was not based on any case, individuals, judges or verdicts. It was against the encroachment on the freedom of the legislature and the executive. ‘We are for the independence of the judiciary, the legislature and the executive’, Karat said.


(E Rajesh)




Buddhadeb addressing the commemorative)) meeting in Kolkata


A PACKED Centenary Hall of the Kolkata University listened to Biman Basu, E Balanandan, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Mohd Amin, and Benoy Konar as they spoke on the political significance of the first albeit short-lived communist-led state government of Kerala 50 years ago, and dwelled on the continuing importance of the setting up and bringing down of that government. The speakers exhorted upon the gathering to draw the correct lessons from what had happened in Kerala 50 years ago and to apply them in the concrete reality of Bengal today.


Veteran leader of the CPI(M) E Balanandan iterated the pro-people programme of the Kerala government and said that the then chief minister E M S Namboodiripad did not take up a revolutionary programme. The aim was to mobilise a pro-people programme within the Indian Constitution. The ordinance proclaimed to prevent people being ejected from land benefited millions of people. In a very short time minimum wages act, maternity leave, and May Day as a holiday were set up by the government. The police were asked not to intervene in the struggles and movements of the working people. A successful attempt was made to prevent illegal acts of omission and commission in private educational institutions.


From the inception the EMS-led government did face heinous conspiracies, asserted Balanandan. An accusation was thrown at the EMS government that it had won through negative and not positive votes. Nehru and other top Congress leaders were not willing to accept the presence of a communist-led state government. The popularity of the programmes put in place by the Kerala government made the Congress realise that it would have little chance of returning to office if the present government was allowed to continue until end of term. Conspiracies were hatched. Armed assaults were made and mayhem was created. Much the same attitude drove the elements of reaction in Bengal who are panic-struck and fearful of their future after seeing the LF government win more than 50 per cent votes even in the face of impediments.


Biman Basu pointed out that the popular character of the Kerala state government raised the hackles of the elements of reaction who started to create anarchy and mayhem against it. Vicious lies and rumours were spread. It was said that the communists would not spare private property. The people were confused and put into a panic mode before ascertaining the truth of the matter. US secretary of state Dulles threatened withdrawal of US projects if the Kerala government was allowed to continue. Subsequently ambassador Patrick Moynihan’s book revealed how the funds were poured in to help the Congress against the communists in Kerala and Bengal. Efforts are made in Bengal of today to create disorder to impede the developmental work. The Party workers must go deeply amidst the people and foil the conspiracies, said Biman Basu. 


Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee traced the role of the communists in the independence struggle and said how the entire Congress party in Kerala had merged into the Communist Party via the Congress Socialist Party. The Kerala government took up the land reforms programme that had become moribund under the earlier Congress regimes. The popular programmes of the Kerala government made the forces of reaction unleash disorder and anarchy. Finally, the state government was brought down through use of Article 356. The same Act was used to bring down the two UF government of Bengal in 1967 and 1969. 


Dwelling on the 30 years of the Bengal Left Front government, Buddhadeb said that what was done here was an alternative Left model within the existing framework. Some basic pro-people programmes have been set in motion as in Kerala and Tripura: literacy, education, land reforms, small and medium industry, generation of employment etc. The opposition includes the entire array of the ultra left to the extreme right along with certain ‘guests’ from other states plus religious fundamentalists of both persuasions. The people who shed tears for the kisans had all along been on the other side of the barricade, attacking the peasants and defending the zamindars and the jotdars.


In Bengal, 83 per cent of land was in the hands of the rural poor. The agricultural success has been consolidated and agricultural production continuously increases. An Agricultural Commission set up recently would look for further ways and means to improve agriculture. The work of land reforms continues. The recent vesting in the government of 30,000 acres of land would gradually be redistributed. The agricultural struggle would continue apace in Bengal. Industrialisation based on the agricultural strength is the next step. The development is from agriculture to industry and from villages to urban areas.


Bengal shall progress in a conscious, positive, and cautious manner, and not through anarchy. Investment is pouring in because there is a market for the products. Industrial growth will be made possible through increasing rural purchasing power. Industry is also necessary to generate more and more employment. The experience of Kerala shows that a transitional period witnesses the coming together of the forces of reaction. Thus, ‘we have to learn from the Marxist thinker EMS’s thoughts and forge further forward on the path of development,’ concluded Buddhadeb. 


Mohd Amin, presiding over the meeting, said that the Left would spread all over the country taking along with it the mass of the people. He recalled, pointing to the Left Front governments in Kerala, Tripura, and Bengal, how the slogan had been raised when the Kerala government was brought down ‘more such governments will be set up in the country.’
(B Prasant)