(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 08, 2009
FOLLOWING a series of meetings, the Bengal Left Front proved the early bird in Bengal by coming forth with its list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Biman Basu, announcing the names of the candidates, unanimously arrived at, in the early afternoon of March 3, 2009 at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan, noted that the CPI(M) would contest 32 seats with the rest 10 being left for the Left Front constituents. The Forward Bloc and the CPI have put up three candidates each, and the RSP four.
The CPI(M) and the Left Front constituents have put up 18 new candidates. The Left Front would put in a deep, wide as well as dedicated pro-people mode of campaigning in the run up to the polls, taking the masses into confidence: indeed, this will be part of the ongoing campaign-movement on pro-people issues. A strong resistance will be provided against all attacks being orchestrated on the people by the ruling classes and by the political parties in their pay and protection. The Left Front would frontally meet the inglorious challenge of the conglomeration of all forms of anti-communist forces backing the basic axis of disorder –– the tie-up between Pradesh Congress and Trinamul Congress. The election manifesto of the Bengal Left Front is in the final stages and would be released very soon.
As Jyoti Basu has commented earlier, the combined challenge of the reactionaries and the sectarians shall be countered politically. Biman Basu added to say that the Left Front would also mobilise members of the Left-leaning masses in the formation of the booth committees in the run up to the three-phase polls ‘awarded’ to Bengal by the Election Commission.
Senior CPI(M) veteran Jyoti Basu, who has been in attendance regularly of late at the Friday morning meetings of secretariat of the Bengal state unit of the CPI(M), faced the media in the portico of the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan late in the morning of February 27, 2009. A figure of great esteem with the people as with the media, Jyoti Basu fielded a number of questions.
Responding to the newshounds queries on the impact of the Pradesh Congress joining hands with the Trinamul Congress in the Lok Sabha elections, Jyotibabu was clear in his forthright answer that that such an alliance ‘would be fought hard and politically by the CPI(M) and the Left Front.’
The CPI(M) Polit Bureau member expressed his usual terseness in repartee when he retorted to queries of the post Lok Sabha election political alignments, by simply refusing to accede to and indeed dismissing ‘any such conjectural political scenario.’
The former Bengal chief minister reiterated strongly that by ‘political battle’ the CPI(M) meant going to the people ‘with our say,’ and carrying the campaign-movement deep amongst the masses in the run up to the parliamentary elections. ‘We shall particularly emphasise that those who oppose us in any form possess no principled stand of any kind,’ was the CPI(M) leader’s final words before he sped off for his Salt Lake residence.
BOOK ON DELIMITATION
RELEASED BY BIMAN BASU
Bengal CPI(M) secretary Biman Basu released at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan, late in the afternoon of March 1, 2009 a book on delimitation. The books deals with a brief history of delimitation in Bengal and delineates the changes that the recent amendments had wrought in the shape, size, and population pools of the different assembly and Lok Sabha segments and units.
State committee member of the CPI(M) and an associate of the Delimitation Commission, Rabin Deb wrote and compiled the book. Biman Basu wrote the political introduction to the 75-page, soft cover document published by the National Book Agency (NBA), and priced at Rs 20.
Introducing Rabin Deb’s book while releasing it to the media, Biman Basu said that the effort merited equal importance with the Prannoy Roy-edited India Decides and Dilip Banerjee’s Election Recorder. Certainly, this book is the first of its comprehensive kind for Bengal, and the data used has been brought up-to-date to mid-February of 2009. ‘I have not seen such a detailed work of this kind in the past,’ confessed Biman while praising the smart style of writing, analysis, and compilation of the material that had been marshalled with help from both NBA and the daily Ganashakti.
The book dwells at some detail on how the 294 assembly segments and the 42 Lok Sabha seats have been reconstituted by the Delimitation Commission chaired by Justice Kuldip Singh. He pointed out to the principal contents of the book which were as follows:
Delimitation — an exercise after 33 years
Population based effects
Reserved seats and changes
The shape and size of the Bengal Assembly 1952-2006
Demographic and other features of each assembly and Lok Sabha seat
Results of the 13th and 14th Lok Sabha polls
Gazette notifications of the Delimitation Commission and of the Election Commission
A multi-coloured map delineating the delimitation results
Biman Basu pointed to the ugly acts indulged in by the Bengal opposition, particularly the Trinamul Congress, during the public hearings that the commission organised at Siliguri, Durgapur, and in Kolkata. The then CEO as well as the chairman of the Delimitation Commission were physically heckled. Work of the commission was hampered. Unprintable words were thrown at the members of the commission who were dubbed as ‘stooges of Alimuddin Street,’ and yet the work could be completed thanks to the Left Front members of the commission present, which backed the commission’s work to the hilt.
Later, answering questions on the fact of the lessening of the population profile of Kolkata, that saw Kolkata lose one Lok Sabha seat of the three, Biman Basu offered four tentative reasons:
Tenants often went to the suburbs in the houses/flats that they had built and/or purchased
Jobs took people and their families away from the metropolis
Dilapidated houses were sold off and families moved to the suburbs
Those working abroad, and originally khas Kolkatans, now preferred to return to pricey and luxurious flats/condominiums they have come to own in the high-rises that increasingly dot the outer reaches of the city
On the defeat of the CPI(M) candidate in the Bishnupur west assembly seat, Biman Basu said that the greater factor was not the alliance between the two Congresses, Pradesh, and Trinamul, for the former could garner less than ten thousand votes the last time around. The defeat has to be judged in the success or lack of it on the part of the organisation to carry the campaign of the CPI(M) deep enough among the masses of the people.
In addition, Biman was confident that the results of an assembly by-elections were dominated by factors and conditions that would never apply when it came either to the general elections to the Lok Sabha or to the assembly. For the record, the CPI(M) had won the seat the last time around after garnering 44 per cent of the votes polled. This time, the figure was but one per cent less – and that made the difference.