(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 12, 2009
Mammoth Left Front Rally At Agartala
THE country is set to be governed by an alternative policy, an alternative that ensures wellbeing of millions of people in place of the LPG policies which serve a handful few, the alternative that upholds high secular values among multi-religious communities instead of spreading religious hatred, an alternative that pursues the well accepted independent foreign policies matching with the non-aligned policies instead of bowing down to the US imperialism, said Prakash Karat, general secretary of CPI(M) in a mammoth Left Front rally at Stable ground, Agartala on April 5, 2009.
Highly inspired by the call of the Left Democratic parties to form a third alternative government at the centre, thousands of people belonging to all walks of life, both tribals and non-tribals, participated in the rally. The Stable ground could not accommodate all the people and more than half of them had to occupy the places nearby. Apart from the urban and semi-urban people of Agartala who came in procession, the people of other far flung areas attended the rally defying the scorching heat of the April sun and bearing the trouble of journey in vehicles, in some cases of more than 150 kilometers. Naturally, the streets leading to the rally site were filled with people who were shouting slogans in support of Left Front candidates and for an alternative government at the centre. Knowing well the large participation of the people, the organisers extended the audio system to one kilometer beyond the ground.
The mammoth rally was presided over by the octogenarian leader and former state secretary of the Party, Baidyanath Majumder. Apart from Prakash Karat and Manik Sarkar, Polit Bureau Member of CPI(M), seated on the dais were CPI(M) state Secretary Bijan Dhar, Central Committee members Aghore Debbarma, Rama Das, West Bengal ministers Srikumar Mukharjee of CPI, Kshiti Goswami of RSP and Naren Dey of Forward Block, and state secretariat member of CPI(M) Gautam Das, other leaders of Left parties of the state and two Left Front candidates, Khagen Das and Bajuban Riyan who also are the Central Committee members of the CPI(M).
Immediately after introducing both the Left Front candidates before the masses amidst cheerful applause, Prakash Karat explained the perspective situation where Left parties lent outside support to UPA government led by Congress, on a Common Minimum Programme(CMP) knowing fully well the class the Congress belongs to. “We had to do so only to keep BJP, the bigger danger at bay,” he said. Grossly deviating from the CMP, and ignoring the strong protest of the Left parties, the UPA government adhered to the rampant LPG policies which aggravated the plight of the common people, farmers, workers and wage earners, Prakash Karat said. Some of the pro-people steps like the NREGA, RTI and FRA etc., that the UPA had conceded to, were the outcome of constant insistence and prolonged persuasion of the Left parties. It is due to the Left parties’ tooth and nail opposition against the uncontrolled liberalisation drive of the government, the country, particularly the bank and insurance sectors have largely been saved from the disastrous affects of the world financial crisis. But when the UPA government vehemently tried to be a junior partner of the US strategic mission in the name of nuclear agreement, and become shamefully subservient to the later, thus flouting the CMP and the independent non-aligned foreign policy, the Left had nothing to do but to withdraw support to it. Prakash Karat lambasted the UPA government for the dubious missile purchase deal with a tainted arms manufacturing company of Israel singed just two days earlier than the declaration of poll schedule and it is revealed that rupees 600 crores out of 10,000 crores deal was siphoned off through an agent. But Congress has no interest to get it investigated, Karat informed. We were pressing for passage of the women’s reservation bill in almost all the sessions of the parliament. But Congress resorted to avert the issue on the consensus plea and thus it is gathering dust in cold storage, Karat said.
Refuting the tall talk of the Congress that it succeeded in bringing down the price index, Prakash said, the market does not reflect such down fall of Index. He regretted that, prime minister Manmohan Singh takes pride for the four Indian millionaires finding place in the tally of ten richest persons of the world, at a time when 23 crores impoverished countrymen cannot afford two meals a day, 40 per cent of its infants are suffering from malnutrition.
Referring to the fast emerging third alternative, Karat informed that both the Congress and the BJP are losing their allies and suffering disintegration. He strongly argued that those who thought that the national political system would continue to confine between Congress allies and BJP allies, would be amazed to find that the third front would be the guiding force of the country in the post poll days. Karat criticised the BJP that again picked up the ‘Ram Temple’ as their election plank and put the blame for all kinds of extremism on one particular minority community of the country. For consolidating the third alternative, the Left parties must gather their strength further. He hoped that Tripura though a small state, would contribute most in the emerging of the third alternative by making the two Left Front candidates overwhelmingly victorious.
Manik Sarkar in his address squarely criticised both the Congress and the BJP who have bluffed the common people with glittering promises since independence. But it is a hard fact, Sarkar said, that no land reform was implemented except in three Left ruled states, more than 61 years after the independence, farmers of the country are reeling and committing suicide in thousands suffering from frustration, 77 per cent of the people hardly have capacity to afford Rs 20 a day, 15 to 17 crores of people are unemployed, food crisis persists, housing problem of large sections of the people is not attended to, 50 per cent of our mothers are undernourished, 35 per cent of the people are illiterate, safe drinking water did not reach in 2.25 lakh villages. But we are ‘shining’, Manik Sarkar quipped. Do the 10 to 12 per cent of the ‘shining’ people benefited by this rule depict the true picture of the nation, Manik Sarkar asked. So the poor people having their back fixed in a wall are searching for an alternative which may address their basic problems. Thus emergence and advancement of a third alternative is imminent, Manik Sarkar asserted. With regard to communalism, Manik Sarkar said, both the BJP and the Congress utilise communalism for their narrow electoral gains and the only difference is that one does it overtly and the other covertly.
Explaining the inspiring impact of the Left Front victory in the state in national political arena, Manik Sarkar alerted the people, that extremists though cornered are not yet eliminated, and their patrons are still active, so we have no room to be complacent. Make the Left Front candidates victorious with bigger margin than before, he appealed.
The Tribal Welfare minister and CPI(M) Central Committee member Aghore Debbarma alerted the people about the so called demand for ‘separate state’, or ‘state within state’ raised by a split away group of INPT an electoral ally of Congress. Those who are raising such cheap popular demands in the name of tribal interest were once in charge of ADC. But their tenure in ADC was marked by rampant corruption and misappropriation of huge funds meant for tribal welfare.
West Bengal ministers Kshiti Goswami, Srikumar Mukharjee, and Naren Dey also addressed the rally. They said, as West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala are the advanced posts of the country’s Left and democratic movement, vested interests with all kinds of destructive forces both inside and outside the country targeted these states, particularly West Bengal and are relentlessly trying to stall the advancement of the state through violence. But the democratically conscious people of West Bengal will foil their machinations, they assured. They also informed that the people of West Bengal are confronting a section of highly biased and motivated media who are working overtime with manufactured and concocted slanders against the Left Front and Left Front government.