People's Democracy

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


No. 18

May 02, 2010



A Festival of Grassroots Democracy


IT was a festival of democracy at the grassroots. Thousands of tribals, many sporting Red caps, and most of them young and women, trooped through the black topped ghat roads into the valley that is Killa in Udaipur sub division of Tripura. Long streams of people, happily talking and cheering, were seen marching into the venue of the election rally organised by the CPI(M) for its candidate Jaikishore Jamatiya on April 25. Red flags were planted on either side of the road in all hamlets we crossed to reach the venue. Revolutionary songs were being sung from the dais in the native Kokborok language by singers using a modern orchestra. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar was the main speaker at the rally.

The meeting was taking place in the vast ground of a high school building, a distinctive feature throughout the state where even primary schools have proper, usually double-storied buildings and vast grounds. The cheer among the gathering can well be understood when one spotted an hanging bridge just across the venue that connected the hamlets on the other side. It was built from the MPLAD fund of CPI(M) MP Khagen Das in 2008. This bridge has not only helped the people in their movement but also in transporting agricultural produce. The notice on the bridge shows that it was built in 8 months flat. Such visible development is glaring across most regions of the state, save a few really inaccessible hilly areas.

The festiveness among the tribals here may also be because of the overcoming of fear of gun by the tribals. This area was a den of the extremists during  their hey day. But no longer now, tribal school girls, dressed in traditional attire, lined up to welcome their chief minister. An observer described the strength of the gathering as the biggest in the history of Killa.

Manik Sarkar in his speech appealed to the people in ADC areas to ensure a complete sweep for the Left Front in the May 3 elections to the ADC in order to ensure comprehensive development of the state. The chief minister  spoke for nearly two hours in which he dealt with the history of the struggle for formation of ADC and the reactionary role played by Congress and its prop TUJS. He stressed that for the young generation and those who joined the Party in the recent times, it is necessary to know this in order to better understand the present challenges. 

Sarkar stressed that the ADC was meant not just for ensuring development in tribal areas but also to politically empower them through their participation in the decision making process. The holding of elections to the 527 Village Committees in the ADC in 2006 was a step in this direction. Also there is a need to develop both the hilly and plain areas together. Noting the development carried on in the last 5 years of ADC in terms of roads, schools, agriculture, drinking water etc, the chief minister said that much more needed to be done. And in order to do so it is imperative that the Left Front is swept back to power in the ADC in these elections also.

Sarkar lambasted the UPA government for its anti-aam admi policies that were resulting in the unprecedented price rise. On top of not doing anything to bring down the prices, it was fueling them further by increasing the prices of petro products. He recounted how the Left parties were engaged in building a nationwide protest movement against these policies � the huge Delhi rally, the jail bharo agitation, the cut motions planned in parliament along with other political parties etc. He called upon the people of Tripura to lend momentum to this protest movement by voting overwhelmingly in favour of the Left Front in these polls. He also appealed for support to the April 27 nationwide bandh call.