People's Democracy

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


No. 36

September 14 , 2008




Left Front Organises Campaign On Nuke Deal And Anti People Policies

Mahendra Singh

THE Left Front consisting of CPI(M), CPI and PWP (Peasants and Workers Party) organised a meeting on August 25, 2008 in Mumbai. The meeting was organised to explain to the people the reasons for the withdrawal of Left support to UPA government at the centre, the assessment of the current situation, the efforts to defeat nefarious designs of both imperialism and communalism and to combat anti-people policies of UPA government. Thousands of posters were put up and ten thousand leaflets were distributed to publicise the meeting. Citizens of Mumbai from various walks of life thronged Patkar Hall, in downtown Mumbai at Churchgate for the meeting. The jampacked hall was overflowing with people, large number of them standing for almost two hours on both sides of seats.

Prakash Karat, general secretary of CPI(M) and A B Bardhan, general secretary of CPI were given rousing reception on arrival at the meeting venue, with slogan shouting volunteers lining up on both sides from SNDT University entrance to the hall entrance. Seated on the dais apart from Prakash Karat, A B Bardhan and S V Jadhav of PWP, were veteran CPI(M) leader Ahilya Rangnekar and other prominent leaders of CPI(M), CPI and PWP.

Dr Bhalchandra Kango, state secretary of CPI, chaired the meeting. Making introductory remarks, Mahendra Singh, Mumbai secretary of CPI(M), said Left parties had withdrawn support to UPA government in keeping with their promise to people of the country not to support UPA government if it draws India into a strategic alliance with US imperialism. He also said that the UPA government’s efforts to isolate Left parties had failed with six secular parties joining Left in opposing UPA government on the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal. Dr Bhalchandra Kango, presiding over the meeting criticised the UPA government for being overeager to keep its word given to US president George Bush and mortgaging the sovereignty of the country. Dr Ashok Dhawale, CPI(M) state secretary, reminded the audience that the meeting to mobilise citizens of Mumbai to defeat anti-national designs of imperialism and communal forces, and to resist anti-people neo-liberal economic policies of central and state government was being held on the occasion of birth centenary of immortal freedom struggle martyr Rajguru. He drew the attention of the people to hardships being faced by people of Maharashtra on account of neo-liberal, anti-people policies of Congress – NCP state government and UPA government. He expressed happiness that people of state were coming on streets in increasing numbers to resist anti-people policies, pointing out that about one lakh workers, peasants, adivasis, women, youth and students had come on streets on August 20, in response to countrywide general strike call of CITU, AITUC, HMS and other central trade unions and Federations of banks, insurance, state and central government employees etc. He appealed to the gathering to take the message of the meeting to the people and mobilise them. Professor S V Jadhav, PWP leader, in his brief speech declared full support of his party to the action of Left parties and said people will teach a lesson to Congress. He made fervent appeal to further strengthen the Left unity.

A B Bardhan, CPI general secretary, lambasted UPA government for bidding goodbye to independent foreign policy and manoeuvring to involve India into the strategic alliance with US imperialism as a junior partner. He reminded that there were differences with Congress government on many issues in post independence period but there were no differences on the issue of independent foreign policy. It was BJP led NDA government, which formulated that US and India were natural allies, twin brothers, one the oldest democracy and other largest democracy and sought strategic Indo-US alliance with India as a junior partner. Left opposed this formulation, keeping in mind US imperialism’s design to impose its hegemony and to undermine sovereignty of third world countries. However, when UPA prepared its first draft Common Minimum Programme, it repeated almost the same thing. Left parties opposed and compelled it to mention that the government will pursue independent foreign policy and seek good relations with all countries including US. He pointed out that, however, Manmohan Singh government did not stick to it, took measures to promote strategic relations with US. Instead of promoting multipolarity in international relations, UPA government, acted to promote US unilateralism, harmful to Indian interests. Left warned Manmohan government repeatedly but it did not heed and announced in July 2008, its intention to proceed with operationalisation of Indo-US nuclear deal notwithstanding protests of Left. With no other option available, Left withdrew support to protect the freedom of the country. He said Left could not be a party to the mortgaging of India’s sovereignty. He came down heavily on UPA government for neglecting the problems of overwhelming population of India and being indifferent to implementation of pro-people measures of CMP. Bardhan pointed out that initially UPA government was confident of managing a majority easily with the support of Samajwadi Party, but as days passed by, ever more political parties joined Left. Gripped by fear of imminent defeat, it resorted to shameless horse trading using Amar Singh. He said Manmohan Singh might have somehow saved his government, but people will certainly teach congress a lesson. He appealed to the people to co-operate with Left in building third alternative on the basis of campaign on certain issues concerning the people.

Prakash Karat, before commencing his speech, released the special issue of Jeewan Marg, weekly organ of CPI(M) Maharashtra committee, commemorating 61 years of Indian independence, amidst thunderous applause. At the outset, he reminded the people of the Left warning since August last, regarding the threat of the UPA government moving further in the direction of forging Indo-US strategic alliance. He said notwithstanding Left’s opposition, Manmohan Singh government gave priority to keeping its promise to Bush over keeping its promise to the people of India, hence to protect the sovereignty of India, Left withdrew support to the government. He strongly denounced UPA for disseminating disinformation and lies. He exposed the UPA government’s claim of nuclear deal being necessary to promote energy security, by mentioning various facts and figures, emphasising that nuclear power plant generated electricity would not be affordable. He reminded the people of Maharashtra experience with Enron supplied electricity and pointed out other available options. He also exposed the false claims of Congress that the Hyde Act was inapplicable to nuclear deal and the disinformation being spread by it about IAEA safeguards. Mentioning that some smaller, NSG countries had opposed waiver draft submitted by US, he warned that the revised draft with more adverse conditionalities will be so worded that UPA government will say no new conditionalities have been imposed. He accused Congress party of treachery and betrayal of Left, not keeping its promise not to proceed further as regards nuclear deal without Left consent. Pointing out to the harmful fallouts of the deal, he mentioned that pressure is being mounted to deploy Indian troops in Afghanistan and to depute military advisers there. He said US is seeking to forge India –Israel-USA axis. NDA government promoted better relations with Israel at the cost of solidarity with the cause of Palestinians and UPA government is continuing the said policy. He pointed out that India is the largest buyer of Israeli arms and Indian government is keeping mum about the atrocities on Palestinians and had provided facility to Israel to launch two spy satellites from India, to keep surveillance on Iran. He further said Israel has now threatened Iran with military action and as party to forging strategic alliances, ever more joint Indo-US military exercises are being conducted. He declared that Left will oppose the joint Indo-US naval exercise operations in Malabar, proposed to be conducted in October, right from Mumbai to Cochin. Prakash Karat warned said the operationalisation of nuclear deal will lead to further expansion of neo-liberal policies to cover the other sectors of the Indian economy, resulting in new attacks on the livelihood of common people. He lambasted UPA government for its obsession with operationalisation of nuclear deal and neglect of other problems facing the country, including grim situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Mentioning that despite all disinformation disseminated by it, UPA government failed to isolate Left parties, Prakash Karat further pointed out that though Manmohan Singh has saved his government somehow, he was afraid of facing parliament and his government had not convened monsoon session of parliament because it was not sure of the majority it managed during trust vote. Dealing with the tactics of Left as regards the ensuing Loksabha elections, Prakash Karat said that it will work to bring into office a government that will pursue independent foreign policy, protect secularism and provide relief to common people. He pointed out that in every state there were formidable political forces opposed to Congress and BJP. He declared that Left with other six secular parties had decided to launch countrywide massive agitation to oppose nuclear deal, communalism, imperialism, inflation and misuse of central agencies against political opponents. He ended his speech with fervent appeal to co-operate with the Left. This was responded with thunderous applause by the people.

Prakash Reddy, CPI Mumbai secretary proposed the vote of thanks. The meeting ended with full throated slogans of ‘Scrap nuclear deal’ ‘Defeat imperialism-communalism’, ‘Unite against inflation & anti-people policies of UPA government’ and ‘Inquilab Zindabad.’