People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 51

December 20, 2009



CPI(M)-CPI Rally Gets Huge Response


THE Punjab state units of the CPI(M) and CPI organised a state level joint rally on December 12, 2009 at Ludhiana against the fast rise in prices of essential goods, for food security, for steps to overcome the agrarian crisis and for peace and communal harmony in Punjab. The rally evoked huge response as over 30 thousand people from all over the state participated in it with great enthusiasm. The rallyists adopted a resolution unanimously to carry forward the struggle on the above issues. The actions will include sub-division level week long hunger strikes during the second week of January 2010, state level chakka jam for two hours in mid-February 2010 and district level court arrest programmes for one week after a general strike and black badge bearing in mid-March 2010.

The resolution, expressing the rallyists� determination, included the demands like ban on forward trading of all essential commodities of daily use; and strengthening the PDS by revamping it on the Kerala pattern and supply of 14 essential commodities at cheaper rates through the government depots. This also necessitates abolition of the so-called �targeted� public distribution system (TPDS) and stringent steps against the hoarders and black marketers and dehoarding of the stocks of essential commodities.

An important demand of the rally was that the central government must give up its faulty poverty line criteria for identification of beneficiaries under the food security act provide 35 kg of food grains per family of five members at the rate of Rs 2 per kg. Pulses, sugar, edible oil and kerosene oil along with the wheat and rice must be included in the list of essential commodities to be supplied at cheaper rates for ensuring food security and there must be legal  a guarantee for their ensured supply.

The rally also demanded a rollback of the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel, in view of their cascading effects on the inflation situation. Regarding the farmers of Punjab, the rally demanded Rs 100 per quintal bonus on the procured food grains. Comprehensive solution must be found for the self-reliance in the production of food grain, pulses, sugar and oil seeds. Government must increase its investment in the agricultural sector, strengthen the research and development services must be strengthen, adopt correct policies with regard to proper use of agricultural land and crop rotation, ensure the support prices for all the peasant produce, and broaden the ambit of procurement of food grain. It must restore the quantitative restrictions on the import of agricultural products and implement radical land reforms.

The central government must also strengthen its schemes for food and balanced diet like mid-day meal scheme and food scheme for children through Anganwadis. These must be included in the food security proposed act. 

A very important demand of the CPI(M)-CPI rally was that the followers of every religion and faith must have a guarantee for freedom for observance and propagation of their religion and ideology peacefully. The government must not allow the fundamentalists of any hues to interfere in the affairs of followers of other religions. This is important because fundamentalist forces are making attempts anew to disturb the peace and communal harmony in Punjab. No political party must utilise these forces for its narrow political interests. The rally also made an appeal to the peace loving, secular and patriotic people of Punjab not to accommodate the fundamentalist and divisive forces of any kind, upholding their tradition of religious tolerance and secularism, remember the experience of the black days during the eighties and must not allow these forces to succeed in their nefarious and anti-national designs.

The rally was addressed by Nilotpal Basu, a member of the CPI(M)�s Central Secretariat, and Joginder Dayal, a member of the CPI�s Central Executive. CPI(M) state secretary Charan Singh Virdi, CPI state secretary Bhpinder Sambher, Lehmbar Singh Taggar, Raghunath Singh, Vijay Misra (state secretariat members of the CPI-M), and Jagrup Singh, Hardev Arshi, Harbhajan Singh (state executive members of the CPI) also addressed the rally. Veteran leaders Rachhpal Singh (state secretariat member of the CPI-M) and Piara Singh Deosi (central council member of the CPI) presided over the rally.

While addressing the public meeting, Nilotpal Basu said the central and state governments� economic policies are responsible for the price rise which is touching the sky in the country. He said 78 per cent of the people are forced to live on Rs 20 per day. But the government is not providing any relief to the poor peasants from their indebtedness which is to the tune of about Rs 50,000 crore, though it has given relief of Rs 4,18,000 crore to the big capitalists in taxes and loans. He demanded that the government must take immediate steps to strengthen the PDS and to control the skyrocketing price rise. He also demanded immediate relief to the migrant industrial workers who became victims of violent happenings at Ludhiana in the preceding week. He demanded a judicial probe into those happenings and punishment to the culprits, while taking adequate steps to instil a sense of security among the migrant workers. 

Joginder Dayal said India is a democratic country and everybody is free to live everywhere, so nobody should be called as pravasi (migrant). He said the Lal Jhanda (Red Flag) fights for the rights of the working people through broadening their strength.

Charan Singh Virdi placed the main resolution which was endorsed by the public by raising their hands and slogans enthusiastically. (INN)