(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 17, 2009
CPI(M) Campaign Highlights Danger Of Communal Forces In Mangalore
AFTER a gap of 12 years, the CPI(M) has contested for a Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka, forging an alliance with CPI and JD(S). Although the CPI(M) state committee earlier decided to contest from Chikkaballapur Lok Sabha seat, ultimately it was decided to contest from Dakshina Kannada (Mangalore) as per the outcome of the discussions among the three parties.
Most of the assembly segments of Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency comprise of erstwhile Mangalore Lok Sabha constituency in which we contested in 1991, 18 years back. The state committee unanimously decided to field B Madhava, state secretariat member and secretary of Dakshina Kannada district committee. The constituency which is adjacent to Kasargod district of Kerala, had a history of various struggles. Unorganised workers working in beedi, tiles, printing press, cashew etc had bitter struggles for the upliftment of their livelihood. A good number of tillers got their lands from the clutches of unwilling landlords, thanks to the strong movement for the land led by the Party. The so called land reforms brought about by the then Devaraj Urs government were in fact implemented only in erstwhile Dakshina Kannada district because of the unrelented struggle launched by the Party.
Dakshina Kannada has become a laboratory for fascistic communal agenda of the Sangh Parivar. In the name of protecting cows, Muslims were targeted for buying and selling aged cows. Students were attacked or kidnapped for talking to a friend belonging to another religion. The culprits of infamous pub attack are still at large. During the attack on Churches by Bajrang Dal and VHP, the victims were arrested and cases booked against them, instead of putting the culprits behind the bar. Such are the atrocities committed by the BJP government in Karnataka.
The Congress party claiming to be secular, has not made any attempt to isolate the Sangh Parivar, nor it became a campaign issue during the election. Even Sonia Gandhi, who addressed a meeting at Mangalore on April 27, did not mince a word against Sangh Parivar and its communal activities. That means it is not ready to face the BJP politically, organisationally or ideologically.
But the CPI(M) even with limited resources, made the communal offensive of Sangh Parivar an election campaign issue among the voters.
During the election, extensive campaign was undertaken on the issues of price rise, PDS, drinking water, crisis in beedi industry, plight of farmers etc. A separate manifesto was released for all round development of the district including extension and expansion of rail and road services.
The false promise of BJP government about providing 24 hours electricity was also exposed during the campaign. In Karnataka, particularly in rural areas power supply is denied even for six hours a day.
More and more beedi workers were approached during the campaign. They were explained about the role of CITU in increasing their wages from time to time, apart from other benefits. It is estimated that about four lakh workers were involved in rolling the beedies in the constituency.
For smooth conduct of the campaign assembly-wise election committees were formed along with CPI and JD(S) wherever their presence exist. Joint conventions were also held in which the leaders of all the three parties addressed to kick-start the campaign. Earlier, a constituency level activists’ meeting was held. Deve Gowda, former prime minister and K Varadarajan, Polit Bureau member of CPI(M) guided the meeting.
Group meetings of the workers ranging from 10 to 50 were held in the places where they reside and the role of BJP and Congress led government in cutting the ration which cause for rise in prices in the open markets were explained. Many of the participants in the group meetings appreciated the Kerala government for providing 14 essential items through ration shops. This is in contrast with the never implemented false promises of BJP led state government in Karnataka that they would provide rice at Rs 2 per kg within 24 hours of assuming power. The people of Karnataka are angered over poor PDS.
Many of the participants in the group meetings joined the house to house campaign and urged the voters to elect CPI (M) candidate B Madhava.
Deve Gowda, Prakash Karat, general secretary, CPI(M) and K Varadarajan addressed a large meeting at Nehru Maidan, Mangalore on April 11. All the leaders deplored the activities of communal forces in Mangalore and nearby areas where girls were molested in the name of moral policing and minorities and their prayer halls were attacked. While the BJP is the instigator of these actions through various tentacles of Sangh Parivar, the Congress has been the silent spectator. They called upon the people to vote for Madhava and teach a lesson to both BJP and Congress.
During the campaign, 6000 copies of election manifesto were printed in Kannada, apart from two booklets – one each on the anti-people policies adopted by the Congress led UPA government at the centre and BJP led state government.
A general appeal to vote for CPI (M), CPI and the JD(S) was also released.
While concentrating on the campaign in Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency, our units also campaigned for CPI candidate in Udupi-Chickmagalur Lok Sabha constituency. In other constituencies, we independently and in some cases jointly campaigned for the JD(S) candidates. JD(S) has not fielded in five constituencies where we have advised units to campaign for the defeat of both BJP and Congress.
ROLE OF ELECTION
While it is appreciable that the election commission, through its vigil, has confiscated about 24 crores of rupees of unaccounted money, crores of rupees worth of liquor, particularly from Bellary and Shimoga, at the same time, the EC has not allowed the political parties to campaign among the people. India is a vast democratic country. Elections provide an opportunity to discuss and enlighten the people about the problems facing the country like economic crisis, price rise, unemployment etc. The conscious people would understand which political party is really working for the benefit of the people. But the election commission by not allowing street corner meetings, wall writing, postering etc denied the political parties of their rights and deprived the people of their enlightenment. In the process, the smaller parties are most affected because their symbol is yet to reach the minds of the common people.