People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 06, 2008
Sikkim CPI(M) Calls For A Democratic
Front To Augment The People’s Struggle
THE Sikkim unit of the CPI(M) has called for the formation of a democratic front with participation from like-minded political parties to build up popular opinion against the counter-democratic ways of Sikkim’s ruling outfit the SDF.
This was announced by the CPI(M) leadership at the open rally held at the conclusion of the fifth state conference of the Sikkim unit of the CPI(M). The open rally and the state conference delegate sessions were held at Gangtok. Balaram Adhikari was re-elected the secretary.
In his important address at the open rally, Nilotpal Basu, central secretariat member of the CPI(M) stated that a window of opportunity presented itself in Sikkim for the widening of the political-organisational base of the CPI(M). The Sikkim unit of the CITU and other mass organisations have been active and alert on issues touching the hard-earned rights of the workers, peasants, youth, women, and tribal communities.
The results obtained by the CPI(M) at the last Panchayat polls proved how a continuity of struggles and movements would fetch political dividends in the shape of unremitting augmentation of the CPI(M) and the Left in Sikkim. A movement based on political consensus must be built up, said Nilotpal Basu, to counter the ruling SDF who were engaged in throttling the voice of the opposition in Sikkim.
CPI(M) leader Ashok Bhattacharya said that the move to build up a sharp political consciousness among the mass of the people was one of the principal aims of the move to build up a stronger Party and an augmented mass movement. The people of Sikkim would always look forward to a political alternative in a democratic front that the CPI(M) led.
Narrating the growth of the Sikkim CPI(M) and its increasing acceptance to a wide section of the people, Ashok pointed out that the last Panchayat elections where the CPI(M) fought for 10 seats, witnessed a substantial growth of popular participation in its favour, both during the campaign, and in the course of the voting.
During the campaign, said Ashok, and on the day of the polling, the goons of the ruling SDF physically harassed the CPI(M) candidates and CPI(M) workers. An attempt was made, albeit unsuccessfully, to kidnap some of the CPI(M) candidates in the run up to the polls, Ashok revealed.
The adversities on the ground notwithstanding, the CPI(M) secured around 25 to 35 per cent of the votes polled. This has expectedly provided the CPI(M) worker with an additional zest and enthusiasm. The leadership feels that since the Panchayat polls, the Sikkim CPI(M) has been able to make further penetration amongst the masses.
The CITU unit of Sikkim, Ashok pointed out, was able, over the past months, to organise wide movements for the implementation of the industrial disputes act, the minimum wages act, and ensure additional employment for the people through the employment exchange something that the Sikkim ruling party would not do earlier.
Another issue that the Sikkim CPI(M) took up, said Ashok, was the recent movement organised by the indigenous tribal people of D’Jukmpa against a proposed hydel project where the tribes were forcefully ejected from the land and they have not been looked after for either compensation or rehabilitation.
In addition, a vast amount of forest land, out of which the tribal people make their living, has been marked for take over. This would also cause damage to the fragile environment of the hilly areas. The state CPI(M) unit came forward to provide support to the movement and this has further enhanced the penetration of the CPI(M) amongst the tribal people.
Among others who addressed the open session were CPI(M) MP Saman Pathak, CPI(M) leader Anjan Upadhyay, former MP P T Gatso, and former MLA Ashok Chong.