(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 19, 2009
BENGAL chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee addressed a gathering of the intellectual crème de la crème of Kolkata and Bengal on the morning of April 12, 2009 at the packed Sisir Manch downtown metropolis. The rally saw participation by persons of literature, painters, theatre-and-drama personalities, poets, novelists, columnists, artistes of every form, as well as vocal and instrumental maestros. Noted poet Krishna Dhar presided.
The CPI(M) looks forward to formation of a ‘Third Front’ governance at the centre, said Buddhadeb. The government must have a comprehensive agenda of pro-poor development, secularism, democratic sensibilities, and commitment for the maintenance of the integrity and sovereignty of the nation. The Third Front is filled with reality and stands as a viable alternative to the two principal formations led by the authoritarian Congress and the religious fundamentalist and divisive BJP. The Congress is witness to desertion by its allies and friends even after sticking to office for five years.
The Congress-led UPA government would not do much for the poor — it was more interested in fashioning a compliant alliance with the forces of US imperialism on the nuclear ‘deal.’ Food production goes down, kisans commit suicide at ever higher, frightening rate – a total of over 1.8 lakh of the sons of the soil have taken their own lives by their own hands. The farmers continue to choose death over starvation and disintegration of families in large parts of India – the Left-led states being exceptions of relief for the peasants.
In a situation where the Congress is in no position to even repeat what was a poor performance during the 2004 Lok Sabha polls –– where it had won but 145 seats. One reason why the popularity of the Congress is on the rapid slide of waning can be explained by the Dr Arjun Sengupta report where it is said that the daily wage of around 78 per cent of the people in our country is less than Rs 20. At the other end of the spectrum is the existence of four of the richest ten persons of the world in our midst. This glaring contradiction has virtually wiped off the image of pro-aam admi which the Congress seeks to build up before the people. No wonder then the Congress finds itself friendless, alone, isolated, and on the decline.
On the other hand, stand the menace called the BJP-RSS combine. They have started to propagate as if terrorism is synonymous with Islam, which of course suits their Hindu fundamentalism. This combine stands against the secular fabric of the nation itself. The Malegaon blasts probe has proved the connection between the BJP-RSS brand of Hindu fundamentalism and terrorism. BJP, too, stands witness to desertion of ranks of its allies. The BJD in Orissa is an important recent example in this regard. The BJP must not be allowed to crawl itself to office, for if they do, the nation itself will be under great danger.
Buddhadeb continued to say that in 2004, the Left had taken the risk of supporting the Congress from the outside only to prevent the BJP from coming to office. This time, the Left calls for the Third Front based not on personalities but principles and policies. The Left looks to pro-poor developmental programmes, strengthening of the rationing system, and increase of plan allocation in such basic sectors as health and education.
The centre-state relationship must be re-worked to provide more power, political and financial, to the states. There should be comprehensive ambience of democracy and secularism. An independent foreign policy should be pursued. These policies would only fructify if the Left has decisive influence on the Third Front government that would come to office at the end of the Lok Sabha elections. For this purpose, said Buddhadeb, a larger number of Left Front MPs must be elected from all over the country especially from the three Left-ruled states of Kerala, Tripura, and Bengal.
In Bengal, the opposition is out to confuse the outlook of the poor and the adivasis. Forces of separatism have started to encourage divisive elements in Bengal, in the hill areas and in the western districts of the state. The Left Front is not weak-kneed to these dangerous developments. It depends more on the power of the people than of arms and violence. He told the gathering that the Left Front believed in a form of cultural pluralism. The different cultural centres of Bengal like the Natya Academy and the Bangla Academy are run by the Left Front government with this perspective firmly in place.