(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 12, 2009
CPI(M) Begins Poll Campaign From Azamgarh
IT was the Ambedkar Park, in front of the district collectorate, in Azamgarh from where the Communist Party of India (Marxist) recently began its poll campaign 2009. A good number of the youth and students, women, peasants, workers, advocates and others were present in the park where the CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat was present on the dais along with leaders of the party’s state unit as well as Arun Kumar Singh, the CPI(M) candidate for the Azamgarh Lok Sabha constituency.
Local media persons as well as those from outside were eager to see how the Party was to begin its election campaign this time.
After having garlanded the statue of Dr B R Ambedkar, erected on the dais itself, Karat spoke on the significance of the 15th Lok Sabha polls, underlining that our aim is to defeat the fronts led by the Congress as well as the BJP, and to form a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the centre. There exists a favourable situation for this purpose, he added.
Talking about the report card of the UPA government during the last five years, the CPI(M) leaders said the Left had extended support to this government on the basis of a common minimum programme, and that on the basis of this programme we brought considerable pressure upon the government to see that some pro-people policies are implemented in the fields of agriculture, employment creation, tribal rights, development, economic self-reliance, etc. However, even then, the government took more than a year to pass the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), and that too half-heartedly. Moreover, we had had to bring additional pressure for the inclusion of certain provisions in this act, like the guaranteed minimum wage or assurance of 30 percent of the jobs for women. But the government soon began to anti-people measures and to break its promises in regard to agriculture, foreign trade, and other economic issues. It stridently followed a pro-imperialist foreign policy and tried its utmost to sign a nuclear deal with the USA, which was why the CPI(M) and the Left had to withdraw support from the Manmohan Singh government. Karat detailed how this deal was against our national interest, and how the power it would generate would be quite costly. Under this deal, creation of a single atomic reactor would cost at least 1,80,000 crore rupees while the power generated would be available at 8 to 12 rupees per unit.
The CPI(M) general secretary made it quite clear that if the third formation is able to form a government, it would come out of the Indo-US nuclear deal after giving a six-months notice.
Describing the revival and strengthening of the public distribution system (PDS) as a step in the national interest, Karat said this is essential so that the poor and the downtrodden are able to get all their necessities at subsidised prices. He also dwelt on the debt waiver scheme of Kerala. This act was enacted on the basis of a report presented by a committee constituted by the state government and headed by a High Court judge. The act is so effective that in the last two years not a single peasant has committed suicide even in the districts from where maximum peasant suicides were reported. The black money illegally stashed in foreign banks, the Mauritius route and the imposition of a tax on the share market transactions would also be among the priorities of the third formation.
Talking about the polarisation attempts being made by the communal forces, Karat said the BJP is not a political party in the normal sense but the political arm of the RSS and the latter is pursuing the policy of putting and end to our constitution, secularism and socio-cultural harmony. The Malegaon episode has exposed the reality of the RSS and BJP which always tried to dub the Muslim community for the evil of terrorism. It is clear that any return of the BJP to power would be detrimental to our national unity.
Karat said the situation demands an alternative to the Congress as well as the BJP and that is why 9 political parties came together to form an alternative formation, which some more parties may join after the polls. The alternative government formed by this grouping would have four major tasks before itself --- and end to the nuclear deal and the anti-people policies as well as implementation of the policies that may give relief to the people, to halt the communal drive of the Sangh Parivar and the like, to devise such policies as may foster social justice, and to pursue an independent foreign policy. Karat said the parties of the third formation are unanimous over these policies; in fact their focus is on the policies and not on who would become the prime minister. We would also try to ensure that the alternative government is not dependent on the Congress though this would not be an easy proposition.
Talking about the CPI(M) candidate in Azamgarh and the start of the Party’s poll campaign from here, the CPI(M) leader said the area has a rich tradition of the Left movement whose stalwarts included late Comrade Tej Bahadur Singh, and that it was a good thing that Arun Kumar Singh, the CPI(M)’s nominee, belonged to that very family. This tradition enjoins upon us the task that we create a powerful alternative force in the area so that the mass struggles are pushed forward.
Before Prakash Karat addressed the rally, the Party’s Uttar Pradesh state secretary S P Kashyap underlined the need of strengthening the CPI(M) and the Left in and outside the legislative bodies in order to fight the evils of poverty, unemployment, agrarian crisis and communalism, among others. He said that the CPI(M) candidate’s victory in Azamgarh would give a boost to the mass struggles in the area. Former Lok Sabha member Subhashini Ali linked the political instability with socio-economic miseries, saying that political instability would mar our collective life as long as the poor, women, peasants and youth are in the grip of misery. She said that it was the pressure from the Left that saved India, to an extent, from the ill-effects of the ongoing global recession and crisis, and saved our financial institutions from going bankrupt. Now the task is to fight for alternative policies in the interest of the country and its people. She stressed that only a strengthening of the Left could put an end to the domination of moneybags and anti-social elements in the politics in Uttar Pradesh.
Ravindra Nath Singh presided over the CPI(M)’s mass meeting and Ramjag, its district secretary, conducted it. Mukut Singh, Dina Nath Singh, Prem Nath Rai, Hiralal Yadav, Sudhir Singh and Baburam Yadav were among the CPI(M)’s state leaders present on the dais.