(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 17, 2009
Mohammad Shahnaz Gorsi
THE CPI(M) ran a vigorous election campaign in Punjab where its candidate Mahan Singh Rori is contesting from Anandpur Sahib (general) parliamentary constituency. The campaign began with state level general body meeting of its cadres at Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahar) on February 14, 2009. The meeting was addressed by CPI(M) central secretariat member Nilotpal Basu and acting state secretary of CPI(M) Charan Singh Virdi. Over 500 party cadres attended the general body meeting.
The Punjab state committee of CPI(M) met on February 7-8, 2009 which was attended by S R Pillai, Polit Bureau member and Nilotpal Basu, central secretariat member. The two days state committee meeting of the Party did the work division among the state secretariat members, state committee members and district committee members. The meeting chalked out plan of election campaign and gave a state wide fund call.
To publicly kick start the election campaign and to announce the name of the CPI(M) candidate from the Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency, a mass rally was held at Balachaur on March 1, 2009, which was addressed by general secretary of CPI(M) Prakash Karat along with Nilotpal Basu and Charan Singh Virdi. The name of the CPI(M) candidate was announced by Prakash Karat on behalf of central committee of the Party. The mass rally was attended by about seven thousand people, majority of them were from the Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency.
The state committee published eight booklets in Punjabi each numbering 2000, which were translated from the English pamphlets sent by the Polit Bureau titled such as:
(1) Price Rise, Hunger, Malnutrition: Congress-led government’s gift to aam aadmi
(2) Workers’ Chargesheet against Congress-led government
(3) Lies, Deceit and Demagogy: The UPA Report Card in Agriculture
(4) The Global Economic Crisis and India: Need for Alternative Pro-People Policies
(5) In Defence of Rights of Minorities
(6) Defeat the Communal Forces, Unite against Terrorism
(7) Education: Congress-led Government Fails the Test
(8) Health Sector: Trail of Broken Promises.
These booklets were distributed in all the nine assembly segments which make up the whole parliamentary constituency. In addition to this, the joint appeal of the Left parties was published and distributed among the masses. Another booklet ‘On Women’ was also translated from English to Punjabi and 2000 copies were published and distributed among masses, particularly among women.
The CPI(M) election manifesto for the 15th Lok Sabha elections was translated into Punjabi and 5000 copies were printed and distributed among the voters of the constituency. Around 25,000 posters and 2.28 lakh hand bills were printed and distributed in the whole parliamentary constituency as part of the campaign.
At least 700 booth committees were organised to streamline the election campaign of the CPI(M) candidate. Election offices were opened in all the assembly segments and zones, which were under the control of state committee members.
The constituency is witnessing a four-cornered fight with nominees from Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combination, Indian National Congress and BSP also in the fray. The CPI(M) election campaign was directed against both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA and their disastrous anti-working class and anti-national economic policies as also and against the harmful nuclear deal. The Party highlighted the need for pursuing an independent foreign policy. The specific issues which were focused were the NREGA, price rise, breakdown of the PDS, malnutrition, recession, unemployment, plight of the peasantry and suicides due to indebtedness, power scarcity and neglect of under-developed areas of this constituency by different governments since independence.
Thousands of activists of CPI(M) and its mass organisations, coming from different parts of Punjab, ran an extensive door to door campaign in the entire constituency for over a month. Many held group meetings, disbursed voter slips and did everything else that was possible to take the message of the party to the people. Women activists and youth took part in the election campaign in a big way under the guidance of state level cadre.
For the purpose of introducing the Party candidate to the public, the election campaign was divided in three phases. In the first two phases public meetings were held widely in the constituency and in the third phase, road shows were organised. The first phase of the election campaign was completed before April 20, 2009, the day of filing of nomination papers. A massive rally was held at Bhasin Bhawan, Ropar and impressive procession was taken out in the city of Ropar before filing the nomination papers. A total of around 250 small and big public meetings were held in the next two phases up to May 10, 2009. It was observed during these meetings and rallies there was great enthusiasm among the party cadres and other workers.
On May 9 and 10, CPI(M) Rajasthan state secretary Vasudev and central committee member and MLA Amra Ram participated in a road show in Garhshankar and Balachur in support of the Party candidate. They also addressed few public meetings.
There was a joint campaign with CPI and Lok Bhalai party. The CPI candidates are contesting from two seats i.e. Bathinda and Faridkot (SC) whereas Balwant Singh Ramoowalia of Lok Bhalai party is contesting from Sangrur constituency. Elsewhere in the state and Chandigarh, the CPI(M) has given a call to vote for viable secular candidates, generally BSP candidates in order to defeat both the BJP-SAD alliance and the Congress.