People's Democracy

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


No. 23

June 22 , 2008



IGNORING the more than 43 degree Celsius temperature, they all came from different parts of the state to stage a three day long satyagraha at Bhopal against the anti-people policies of the BJP government. They courted arrest before the official residence of the chief minister and were sent to jail. But they were unequivocal in their stance that neither they want a fraud and deceptive government anymore nor a chief minister who talks big but does nothing.

Among the participants in the satyagraha, held during May 26 - 28, 2008 were tribals, who had to climb over the hills, cross jungles and walk on foot a long distance to reach railway stations and travel to Bhopal. They  were joined by daily wage workers, anganwadi employees, workers, peasants, women, youth, students etc to provide a powerful united voice against the disastrous policies of the state government.

The three days' satyagraha programme was called by the Madhya Pradesh state committee of CPI(M) to make a firm statement that the downtrodden sections of population would not surrender their right over their land in spite of all kinds of oppression and repression. A good number of women participated in the struggle, many of them with their kids in their laps. What was noteworthy was the fact that despite extremely hot weather, their enthusiasm was pretty high.  They firmly grasped the fact that Red Flag and only the Red Flag is the symbol of unity and liberty of the distressed people.

The satyagrahis sought answers from the government about the promises it made time and again regarding water supply, roads, electricity etc. They also pressed their demands to provide employment to rural poor. They protested against the arbitrary reduction of monthly allocation of foodgrains by 15 kg in Annapurna Yojna by the state government and wanted to know as to why, despite the Supreme Court verdict on monthly issue of 35 kg per family, the same has been reduced by 15 kg. They were also asking for BHOOMI-BHOJAN-ROJGAR (land-food-employment), to stop corrupt practices in the implementation of Rural Employment Guarantee Act, and of course, scrapping of policies of the central government responsible for the unprecedented price hike.

Among those who addressed the satyagrahis were central committee member and MP Bajuban Riang and CITU secretary Dipankar Mukherjee. Earlier a vigorous campaign program was carried out throughout the state on the issues facing the people.  The state committee gave a call for all Party members and members of the state committee to participate in cycle jathas for 30 km and 100 kms respectively,  so that the Party could reach the larger section of masses with the message. This campaign was carried out in 28 districts of the state and included issue of leaflets, posters, wall writings, padayatras along with mass meetings. Apart from exposing the anti-people policies of the BJP government the Party also used the campaign to project alternative pro-people policies.

Though the CPI(M) is not a big force in Madhya Pradesh, the state committee took up this ambitious task  in view  of the impending assembly elections. The BJP is trying to distract the attention of the people and one instance is the chief minister touching the feet of Brahmin Pandits. The Congress party has engaged itself in caste-calculations while the BSP is busy holding 'upper cast conferences'. In such a situation, it is only the Left which is bringing the issues of common people to the forefront.

CPI(M) state secretary Badal Saroj, state secretariat members Jasvinder Singh, Sandhya Shaily, Ramvilas Goswami, Ashoke Tiwari, Ramnarayan Kureria, and Kailash Limbidiya addressed the satyagraha and appealed to reinforce amd intensify future agitational program.                             

The program of day one was presided over by veteran freedom fighter Dr Ramprasad Pathak,  and was addressed by Dr Vishnu Sharma, Girigesh Sengar, Smt Neena Sharma, Premnarayan Mahour and Shailesh Bohare, all state committee members.

On day two, it was presided over by municipal councilor Usha Goswami and addressed by Neena Sharma, Vidhya Khangar, Kishori Verma, Safiya Akhtar, Kamalesh Sharma, Sumitra Singh apart from state committee member A T Padmanabhan, Pushan Bhattacharya, Vasudev Sharma, N S Patel, Anjana Kureria, Sadhana Karnik Pradhan, Brijesh Kanti Sharma, Saroj Sharma, Devyani Ghosh, Arati Pande. Veteran women's leader Urmila Singh spoke on the occasion.

On the concluding day, the satyagraha was presided over by Chunnibai Bhuria and among the speakers were Bajuban Riang MP, Badal Saroj, Jasvinder Singh, Kailash Limbodiya, Arun Chowhan, Ramalallu Gupta, Naryan Bhaskar, Jhamaklal,  Navinoor Ansari, Neena Sharma, Baljit Singh and S P Sharma.