People's Democracy

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


No. 28

July 11, 2010


Patna Witnesses Massive Turnout

Demanding Land Reforms

Arun Kumar Mishra


THE month long campaign launched under the joint banner of Kisan Sabha (affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha) and Khetihar Mazdoor Union (affiliated to the All India Agricultural Workers Union) in Bihar culminated in a massive turnout of peasants and agricultural workers, including rural women, at Patna on June 14. On this occasion, they saluted the memory of martyr Comrade Ajit Sarkar who fell to the bullets of landlords’ goons on this very day in the year 1998.




It is to be noted that the Kisan Sabha, Khetihar Mazdoor Union and other organisations have come together to fight for implementation of the Land Reform Act and the recommendations made by Bandopadhyay commission in this regard. As reported in these columns earlier, the Bandopadhyay commission has brought up the land reform agenda to the fore and has put the Nitish government in a fix. But the latter has meekly surrendered before the feudal forces who have ganged up under the banner of Kisan Mahapanchayat. The Left parties and particularly the CPI(M), Kisan Sabha and Khetihar Mazdoor Union has jointly decided to carry on the struggle for land reforms.


The June 14 rally of peasants and agricultural workers in the state capital marked the height of mobilisation of the rural poor for the possession of government, bhudan and ceiling surplus land. They came from the fields of Bihar where they have been relentlessly fighting against the evictions and all sorts of machination by the police-landlord-land mafia nexus. In the nineties, the CPI(M) and Kisan Sabha had liberated thousand of acres of land and since then the rural poor are in possession of those lands. The month long campaign has generated a new hope among the landless and the homeless people of Bihar who constitute around 90 per cent of the state’s population.


Coming from far flung places, braving the scorching sun, raising slogans to demand implementation of the Bandopadhyay commission recommendations and carrying their traditional weapons in hand, these peasants and agricultural workers paraded the main thoroughfares of Patna --- from Gandhi Maidan to R Block. CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Brinda Karat and S R Pillai, AIAWU joint secretary Hannan Mollah, CPI(M) state secretary V K Thakur, state Kisan Sabha general secretary Awadhesh Kumar and state Khetihar Mazdoor Union general secretary Dinesh Kumar led the march. Though the local police and administration tried to divert the route, the leadership insisted on going by the earlier decision; ultimately the police had to relent and allow the marchers to follow their plan.


The tribal contingent of the procession was eye catching. Holding bows and arrows in their hands, these tribal people were the epitome of determination to fight for the dignity of life, for a roof on their head, for land to till and mouthful of food and a space for their distinct cultural life. Women with bare feet, in tattered clothes but full of life and fighting spirit, marched shoulder to shoulder with their male comrades, writing a new chapter in the democratic movement. From Purnea to Darbhanga to Bhagalpur, everywhere women have fought valiantly along with their male counterparts and have laid down their lives for liberating the land from landlords and in other democratic movements. The presence of non-gazetted employees and BSSR Union cadres marked a new beginning in the working class-peasant unity in Bihar.




The procession culminated in a mass meeting at the R Block where Brinda Karat greeted the Kisan Sabha and Khetihar Mazdoor Union for chalking out a joint action programme for implementation of the Land Reform Act and Bandopadhyay commission recommendations. On this occasion, she called the Swabhiman Rally of BJP as the Apman Rally for the people of Bihar, as the gentlemen who had gathered in the BJP rally were those responsible for genocide in Gujarat and also the spokesmen of the feudal forces of Bihar. She also came down heavily against the Nitish Kumar government that has meekly surrendered before the threat of feudal forces and threw the Bandopadhyay commission report into the dustbin. She castigated the central government for its shameful role in shielding the culprit of Bhopal gas tragedy by constituting yet another committee of group of ministers. It is just a ploy to hoodwink the people and put the issue in cold storage.


Brinda Karat expressed the hope that the Kisan Sabha and Khetihar Mazdoor Union would write a new chapter of valour and sacrifices and bring out a radical change in the land relations in Bihar. While congratulating the Kisan Sabha and Khetihar Mazdoor Union for their untiring effort to spread the message of land reforms among the rural poor, S R Pillai exhorted them to mobilise the landless and homeless for occupying the ceiling surplus land, bhudan land and government land. He criticised the Nitish government and the RJD-LJP combine for having made a common cause with the feudal forces. He demanded immediate implementation of the Bandopadhyay recommendations and giving out possession of land to the parcha holders.


Hannan Mollah recalled the glorious land movement launched in the early nineties and the sacrifices made by the CPI(M) and Kisan Sabha cadres. While paying tributes to the leaders and cadres of the land movement, he appealed to the assembled militant peasants, agricultural workers and women to resurrect the movement of the nineties and launch a fight to finish for the land reform agenda.


N K Shukla, All India Kisan Sabha joint secretary, made a fervent appeal to carry on the legacy of the militant kisan movement, bury the hated feudal land relations forever and bring out a change in the correlation of class forces in the rural areas of Bihar.


Awadhesh Kumar narrated in detail the experiences of Bhoomi Jagran Jatha and declared that from June 26, the death anniversary of Swami Sahajanand, the land liberation movement would start on the ground, and that it would continue till it accomplished the goal of comprehensive land reforms.


Dinesh Kumar stressed the need for the peasants and agricultural workers to fight shoulder to shoulder for implementation of the land reform act.


In his short and sharp intervention, Kisan Sabha vice president V K Thakur made a strong plea for implementation of the Bandopadhyay commission recommendations. He nailed down the bogus anti-land reform propaganda of the Nitish government which is mired in stinking corruption and acting in an authoritarian manner by giving free hand to the bureaucrats in running the state.


Lalan Chaudhary and Sarangdhar Paswan, presidents of Kisan Sabha and Khetihar Mazdoor Union respectively, conducted the proceedings.




Meeting on June 16, the CPI(M) state committee discussed the mid-term review report placed by the secretary on behalf of the secretariat.


All the state committee members present in the meeting critically put forth their views. It was decided that the relevant suggestions would be included in the draft and later on put before the state committee, to be finalised for general circulation among the party members in the state.


The state committee decided to use all its energy to make the land reforms a success. It also discussed its role in the ensuing Rajya Sabha election and decided to abstain from voting as all the parties in the fray are supporting the feudal forces and are ranged against the implementations of Bandopadhyay commission report.


It discussed the likely seats it might contest in the coming assembly elections and directed the district committees to start the groundwork by choosing a group of cadres for at least a hundred booths in each assembly constituency in which the party might fight. The committee also directed them to organise at least 20,000 people under different mass organisations and collect money for election expenses.


While addressing the state committee members, S R Pillai stressed the need to make the land reform movement a grand success. He said the decision of the party to launch a statewide land liberation movement is no ordinary decision. We have to put all our energy for the purpose.


Pillai asked why the CPI(M) is not growing in the Hindi heartland and answered that the Central Committee had come to the conclusion that the party and the Kisan Sabha are not doing enough to launch class struggles in this vast area. We have got an opportunity in Bihar, we must seize it and work for the expansion of our organisation. He said the party members should be entrusted with the responsibility to take part in land movement by organising and mobilising the masses and by themselves participating in it physically. He cautioned that every party comrade is answerable to the party and those who remain inactive would find themselves outside the party. He said we would, after a month, review the work done by party comrades of Bihar.


He advised the state secretariat and state committee members to take part in the district and lower level committee meetings and chalk out a plan to launch a movement from June 26.  He urged the comrades to make the issue of land reform a matter of debate during elections and carry its message to poor people of Bihar that it is the Left which is fighting for them.


On June 16, Pillai and Hannan Mollah addressed the media. Pillai spoke in detail on the significance of the land movement launched by the CPI(M), Kisan Sabha and Kheihar Mazdoor Union in Bihar. He vehemently criticised the Nitish Kumar government for succumbing to the pressure of feudal forces, and lambasted the RJD-LJP combine for its hollow slogan of social justice while joining hands with feudal forces.


He strongly favoured the Left unity and said the CPI(M) would tirelessly fight to bring about such unity. He announced that the CPI(M) would abstain from voting in Rajya Sabha election in Bihar as all the parties in the fray are opposed to land reforms. The press conference was attended by representatives of the print and electronic media in large numbers. The local media gave wide coverage to the press conference.