(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 09, 2008
RAJASTHAN ASSEMBLY POLLS
CPI(M) To Contest
THE CPI(M) Rajasthan state committee has decided to contest in 34 assembly constituencies in the in the ensuing assembly elections. The last five years rule of the BJP in the state has been marked by its utter failure to serve the interests of common people. As for rampant corruption, none other than BJP's former chief minister and country's former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekawat stated that the Vasundhara Raje government was the most corrupt government the state ever had. The chief Minister and many of her colleagues faced several corruption charges.
Another stark feature of this government has been its brutal repression on struggling people. Police under this inhuman government opened fire against people at least on 47 occasions killing over hundred innocent people. The attacks on religious minorities increased under this regime. More than one hundred communal incidents took place in which large number of Muslim and Christian minorities were attacked. The farmers had to resort to several agitational movements for supply of water and electricity during the course of which eight farmers were killed. They also faced huge loss due to frost and drought but government failed to compensate them. The steep fall in prices of bajra and mustard was a big blow to the farmers. Also this period witnessed several atrocities on Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people. The BJP government resorted to worst type of casteism to divide the people. The clashes between Gujjar and Mina communities was a glaring example of this attitude. The agricultural workers in the state did not get work and the NREGA scheme was widely misused for corrupt purposes.
The main opposition party in the state – Congress – proved to be totally ineffective in fighting for the interests of the people. They failed to take up any of the pressing issues of the people in the state assembly. Their ineffectual role was reflected when their leader openly wept on the floor of the house before the chief minister. What can people of the state expect from such 'leaders'. The Congress totally failed to build up any movement against government’s anti-people policies. They were of course hamstrung by the unprecedented price resulting from the wrong policies of the UPA government and which impacted the people adversely.
In this background, the CPI(M) played an important and active role as an opposition party. Inspite of being the lone MLA of the Party, Amra Ram became the voice of the people in Rajasthan in the assembly. He raised all important issues in the assembly forcefully and also led many mass movements in the state. The CPI(M) organised farmers’ movement in Ganganagar belt and forced the government to release water to the farmers in the region. In the repression unleashed by the state government, hundreds of CPI(M) supporters were brutally beaten up and suffered illegal detention for months together. Hetram, the most respectable leader of the Party, was attacked by police and brutally beaten while being dragged through the streets. He was put in jail for months under National Security Act for leading the farmers’ movement. But it was only due to the CPI(M)’s long-drawn movement that lakhs of farmers got adequate water and reaped benefits of good crops. They also got compensation for frost damage and the prices of agricultural products were increased due to our movement. The massive struggle against increase of electricity tariff forced the government to roll back the hike and consumers got the benefit of around Rs 1700 crore.
The NREGA issue was taken up by the CPI(M) in a big way and thousands of poor agricultural workers, majority of whom were women, were mobilised in this struggle for the last six months in different parts of the state. This struggle forced the government to accept their demands in many places. The Party also took up tribal forest rights issue and mobilised thousands of tribals in tribal-dominated districts. The Party stood by the minority communities against communal violence and atrocities on the weaker sections. All these struggles have created a good impression about the Party in the minds of the people, especially among the farmers and the poor.
Under these circumstances, the CPI(M) has decided to contest assembly elections in those areas where struggles were conducted consistently. In the belt of water movement, the Party will contest ten seats while in the belt of electricity and other movements, it will contest in 16 seats. The Party is contesting in two seats in the tribal areas. The candidates are mostly from the leaders of these struggles and the Party expects to mobilise good number of people behind them.
The CPI(M) started its campaign with the central slogan of “Defeat BJP and Reject Congress” and “Vote for Left, democratic and secular forces”. It has appealed to all secular forces to vote for our Party candidates in those 34 seats. The Party has also decided to extend support to CPI candidates in other seats. In constituencies which have neither CPI(M) nor CPI candidates, the Party has appealed to vote for JD(S), BSP candidates in order to defeat the BJP and the Congress.
The election preparations are going on with great enthusiasm. The district and state leaders have begun preparatory work around two months back. A large number of national leaders of our Party will campaign for our candidates in the coming days.