(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
October 11, 2009
Only RLDF Highlights
secretary, Dr Ashok Dhawale, stated this in an interview to N S
Below we give excerpts of the interview:
(Q): What are the main issues exercising the people in the present assembly elections?
whole trend of
Then there is the tremendous burden of price rise on all working people. Tur dal sells at around Rs 110 per kg while sugar is around Rs 40 per kg. On top of this, the public distribution system in the state is in a shambles. The kind of damage this lack of access to cheap foodgrains does can be seen from the horrible fact of over one lakh children dying due to malnutrition in the last ten years in the Adivasi areas of the state.
of NREGA in the state is another issue, exercising the agricultural
particular. Works are not being taken up and wherever some works are
there is corruption while the wages being paid are very low. Various
reports have brought out the fact that NREGA implementation in
Even before the financial crisis, there has been large scale retrenchment of workers – around 20 lakh jobs were lost. With the crisis, there is an all-out attack on the working class. Permanent workers are being sacked, and in their place low-wage temporary contract workers are being employed. Then there is the problem of severe power cuts, with the rural areas being denied power for 12 to 16 hours a day while in urban areas it is for 4 to 6 hours a day.
(Q): The CPI(M) took initiative for the formation of the 19-party RLDF alliance recently. How do you rate its chances?
election is taking
place in the Golden Jubilee year of formation of the state of
(Q): What is going to be the impact of Raj Thackeray-led MNS in these elections?
Raj Thackeray has been fully supported by the Congress-NCP alliance right from the start. Actually, that has given him the strength to indulge in violent activity. And that is why there is no action taken against him despite the violence. Just as the Congress government in the 60s encouraged Shiv Sena to break the Communist base in Mumbai, they are now encouraging MNS to cut into the Shiv Sena base. If one analyses the last Lok Sabha election results, had MNS not been there in the electoral fray, the Congress-NCP tally would have been reduced by at least 8 seats. And there are reports that like during the last Lok Sabha elections, the Congress-NCP is providing financial support to MNS this time also. By and large, the MNS may cut into SS-BJP vote and the Congress is hoping that this dent in the opposition vote will help them overcome the anti-incumbency factor.
How do you view the
recent communal violence in parts of Sangli and
communal violence in
connection with the recent Ganesh festival in parts of
(Q): What is your take on the spate of rebellions in the main bourgeois parties?
There have always been rebellions in these parties. But what is different this time is their magnitude. It is unprecedented, particularly in Shiv Sena. It is clear that Bal Thackeray does not command that clout in his party anymore.
(Q): Is there the possibility of a hung assembly this time?
The people are fed up and angry with the present regime of Congress-NCP for its anti-people policies. However, the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance also does not inspire confidence given that all these policies were championed by them also during their tenure. With the MNS set to cut into Shiv Sena votes and the RLDF evoking good response among the farmers, dalits and tribals, there is every likelihood of a hung assembly this time.
(Q): Out of the 20 seats being fought by the CPI(M), ten are tribal reserved seats.
The historic Adivasi revolt in 1945, led by the Communist Party under the leadership of legendary Shamrao Parulekar and Godavari Parulekar, actually laid the foundation of our work among tribals. We have been continuing our work since then in these areas. The issues of land, wages, employment and PDS have been consistently taken up by the Party. That is why we have a strong base among tribals and two of our three sitting MLAs in the present assembly are elected from tribal reserved seats. The Party has been winning consecutively both these tribal seats in Thane and Nashik districts for the last three decades.
(Q): Given the huge amounts of money at the disposal of the bourgeois parties, how is the CPI(M) countering it?
Well, the strength of the CPI(M) is the whole-hearted support it receives from the people in its strongholds. In places where we are fighting, we have undertaken mass collections from the people. In districts where we are not contesting, the district committees are collecting money from people and sending to the state committee as election fund.
More than this, the kind of good work our sitting MLAs have done in their constituencies will hold them in good stead against the money power of the opponents.