People's Democracy

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


No. 27

July 04, 2010



Yechury Slams UPA Govt’s

Economic Authoritarianism


S P Rajendran


ON June 26, the CPI(M) organised a protest at Madurai against the increase in fuel prices announced by the United Progressive Alliance government where CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury demanded its immediate rollback.


Addressing the gathering in the massive demonstration, Yechury said the announcement was an unprecedented attack on the livelihood of the vast mass of people who were already reeling under the influence of inflation for more than two years.


The demonstration coincided with 35th anniversary of imposition of Emergency as the Congress government under Mrs Indira Gandhi took this step on the same day 30 years ago. “It was the worst form of political authoritarianism and now this fuel price hike is economic authoritarianism,” Yechury said.


The Congress was later defeated by an upsurge of the people and democracy was reinstated in March 1977. “Now the CPI(M) will fight it out and make them roll back the fuel prices,” he added.


The reason cited by the UPA government for the hike is that the oil companies are facing losses, but this is unfounded as there has been no change in the crude prices in the last three months, Yechury said. Secondly, the losses, if any, were notional and there would be no losses if only the tax structure were rationalised. He asked the government to withdraw the taxes on petroleum products and petroleum imports.


As for the argument that money is required to support the social welfare schemes, it is simply illogical. “Why can't the government use the Rs one lakh crore collected from the sale of spectrum for 3G and broadband wireless access to support the schemes?” asked Yechury.


He said the economic policies of the UPA government were creating an economic divide in the nation. It was creating an “IPL India” for the rich and “BPL India” for the poor. Lakhs and crores of rupees were made in the name of Indian Premier League. “Why not tax them heavily and support the welfare schemes,” he wondered.


Madurai East MLA N Nanmaran, Madurai urban district secretary R Annadurai and state committee member R Jyothi Ram also participated in the protest.


Immediately after the announcement of fuel price hike, the CPI(M), CITU, AIDWA, DYFI and SFI organised protest actions all over the state. CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan addressed the protestors at Chennai. Central Committee members N Varadharajan and U Vasuki, and the CPI(M) assembly group’s leader K Balabharathi participated in the protest at Dindigul. In Nagapattinam district, nearly 3000 people organised road blockade action. In Tirupur, a huge public meeting was held. Leaders including Central Committee member T K Rangarajan addressed it. In many districts, CITU and DYFI cadres, autoworkers and transport workers made the protest a novel one; they conducted ‘last rites’ of the gas cylinders.




Following the call for an all-India hartal on July 5 to protest the fuel price hike, AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa, MDMK general secretary Vaiko and state leaders of the CPI(M), CPI, AIFB and Muvendar Munnani Kazagam jointly issued a call to the people of Tamilnadu to make it a grand success in the state.




On June 26, Sitaram Yechury addressed a seminar at Madurai on how to find a solution to the problems faced by Sri Lankan Tamils; it was organised by the CPI(M). He said there was a huge difference between the terms “united” and “unitary” as the former referred to a federal constitutional system akin to the one practised in India whereas the latter was not so.


He went on to state that at present there were two aspects to the issue: one was to immediately address the humanitarian problems faced by Sri Lankan Tamils and the other to work towards a political solution to the long pending problem of the Tamil minority in the neighbouring country. On the humanitarian front, attention should be given to ensure relief, resettlement and rehabilitation of the Tamils. Steps must be taken to ameliorate the sad plight of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps, and there must be international supervision for which the Sri Lankan government must agree.


The Sri Lankan government should also allow international agencies to create conditions of resettlement of the IDPs and that process must start forthwith.


An early resettlement plan was important to discourage the attempts to bring about a demographic change by asking the majority population to migrate to the minority areas. “This will cause future tensions and this must not be allowed by the international community,” Yechury said.


He added that the government of the neighbouring country must make all out efforts to rehabilitate the Tamils by introducing various welfare measures such as advancing loans and subsidising the agricultural inputs to restart cultivation.


Simultaneously, a political solution should also be worked out, giving complete autonomy to the Tamil speaking areas in the North and East. “This autonomy must be given on federal principles and not on unitary principles,” Yechury stressed, adding that the Tamil language must be accepted as an official language of the island nation in order to restore confidence among the Tamil speaking population.


“We share an emotional bond with the Tamils in Sri Lanka,” he said and added that slogan mongering would not be of any help to the beleaguered population of that country. Only concrete solutions, as suggested by the CPI(M), could bring about peace and normality.




”The centre should enact a law to establish a regulatory body and bring all private educational institutions under its control,” said Sitaram Yechury at Chennai, June 27.


Addressing a “Save Education Conference” organised by the Tamilnadu state committee of the CPI(M), Yechury said the suggested regulatory body should address four important issues: an admission policy ensuring reservation for backward and weaker sections, fee structure on a par with government institutions, fair salary for teachers and a syllabus reflecting the national character.


There was the need to maintain a balance among three factors — equity, quantity and quality till universal education was achieved in India. Quantity could be achieved by greater investment in education by the government, equity by implementation of reservation in both government and private educational institutions. Quality, he said, could be achieved only if there was a control over the nature of education provided by private institutions. As regards using mother tongue as the medium of instruction, he said the mother tongue was the instinct with which one could express oneself and that instinct formed the foundation for the process of learning. “If the instinct is removed the process of learning is handicapped. Lay the foundation on mother tongue and build on that for higher education,” he said appreciating the state unit of the party for supporting the cause of education in mother tongue.


CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan explained how the Indian Bank Employees Association, CITU and a few party workers were running schools with the objective of providing education to the weaker sections.


Former vice chancellor of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Dr V Vasanthi Devi, said the next class war would be fought in the field of education, as the present system was ensuring good education only to the children of the rich people.


SFI all-India joint secretary G Selva, state leaders N Rejees Kumar, K S Kanagaraj, MUTA leader Professor Manoharan, CPI(M) MLA Mahendran, North Chennai district secretary T K Shanmugam and South Chennai district secretary K Bhimrao also spoke.