People's Democracy

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


No. 39

September 26, 2010


Patna Meeting Expresses Solidarity with Bengal Left Front


Sarvodaya Sarma


ON September 17, the Bihar state committee of the CPI(M) organised a large public meeting in S K Memorial Hall, Patna, to mark the countrywide solidarity campaign against the violent attacks on the party and Left Front government in West Bengal by the Trinamul-Maoist combine. The meeting took place in response to the call of the Central Committee’s extended meeting recently held at Vijayawada.


It is to be noted that S K Memorial Hall is not only the biggest hall in the state capital but also the most important political centre located near Gandhi Maidan, and has been witness to most of the political programmes in Bihar. The hall was packed to its capacity an hour before the scheduled time at 12.30 noon. As it happened, more than a thousand people had to stand till the end to express their solidarity with the fighting comrades of West Bengal. It is not out of place to mention that Bihar was a part of Bengal presidency at one time, and lakhs of workers from Bihar are still working in Calcutta (Kolkata) and various other parts of West Bengal. When the CPI(M) emerged as a biggest political forces in West Bengal in the 1960s, Bihar was greatly inspired and termed it as the “Rising Red Sun of the East.” A popular slogan in Bihar in those days was “Purab se Ugte Suraj ko Lal Salam” (Red Salute to the Sun Rising in the East).


It was appropriate for the occasion that CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and its Central Secretariat member and former MP from West Bengal, Hannan Mollah, were present in the meeting.




Addressing the meeting, Prakash Karat said that this solidarity campaign is meant not only for saving a democratically elected government but also for defending a long drawn series of class and mass movements which led to the formation and continuance of the Left Front government in West Bengal for the last 33 years. He reminded the audience of the intense land struggle and food movement in the 1960s, in which millions and millions of people participated, suffered repression and forged ahead to lay with their sweat and blood the foundation of a CPI(M) led front. After the 1967 West Bengal assembly election, the incumbent Congress government was defeated and the CPI(M) emerged as the single largest Party. A United Front government was then formed with the help of other Left parties and the Bangla Congress. The ruling classes then panicked. The central government intervened undemocratically and unconstitutionally, not once but twice, to undo our effects.


Then, after 1971, the Congress party and its central government unleashed a reign of terror in the state. A semi-fascist terror rule was imposed on West Bengal. The democratic rights of the people were taken away. As many as 1,400 valuable comrades of the CPI(M) were martyred. More than 20,000 comrades were forced to leave their homes and take shelter elsewhere, even outside the state. We also had to face the repression of Emergency from 1975 to 1977. However, after Lok Sabha elections were held in March 1977 and the Congress lost power at the centre, West Bengal assembly elections were also held in June 1977 and the CPI(M) alone got an absolute majority and while the Left Front got two-third of the seats. Since then, as many as seven assembly elections have been held in the state and many times the Left Front got more than two-third seats.


The CPI(M) and the Left Front have continued their struggle even after 1977. By implementing the land reforms, the Left Front government brought about a major change in the life of the rural poor. We conducted elections to the panchayats and other local bodies regularly and expanded the democratic rights of the people. Decentralisation of power gave an opportunity to the poor and downtrodden sections to participate in decision making in regards to economic, social and political maters of importance. We brought about democratic and scientific changes in education and health care; we ensured the rights of dalits, adivasis, minorities and women.  We took the bold step of not sending the police to intervene when the workers, agricultural workers and peasants agitated and fought for their demands democratically. The Left Front implemented alternative policies to achieve a higher rate of growth in agriculture; as a result, the rate of growth in agricultural production in West Bengal is much higher than the all-India average. Thus the purchasing power of the common people increased, leading to an augmentation of demand. Despite all the counter propaganda and adverse situations, West Bengal started attracting investments which prepared the ground for industrial development.


Prakash Karat said the Left Front has a great record in maintaining communal harmony in the state. During the partition of India, several communal riots had taken place in Calcutta and other parts of Bengal. During the long rule of Left Front, however, not a single communal riot took place. In 1984, when the Sikhs were the targets of attack in the whole country, West Bengal was an exception. Even after the Babri Masjid demolition, when there were a series of communal riots in various parts of the country, West Bengal remained calm and the Left Front government maintained communal harmony there. Now that reactionary forces are trying to destabilise the Left Front government, a concerted effort is being made to provoke people on sectarian lines and thereby disturb peace and harmony.




The Trinamul Congress, which is a splinter of the old Congress, is making all-out efforts to destabilise the Left Front government of West Bengal. Its cadres have been taking law in their hands and using all overt and covert methods to siege power anyhow. The Indian National Congress and the reactionary forces are also helping them to spread anarchy and chaos. The self-styled revolutionaries called Maoists, who believe in the power of the gun alone, have also turned Mamtaists. They want to overthrow the Left Front government and instal Ms Mamata Banerjee as the chief minister of West Bengal. After the Lok Sabha election, more than 272 comrades and supporters of the CPI(M) have been killed, 40 adivasi comrades have also lost their lives. An adivasi teacher was brutally killed when he was teaching in the classroom. He was holding a pen in his hand while dying. The Maoists are also attacking CPI(M) offices and the houses of CPI(M) leaders, workers and supporters.


Prakash Karat pointed out that imperialist powers too are very much behind these efforts to destabilise the Left Front government as we have been opposing the anti-people and anti-working class policies of UPA-1 government and withdrew support on the question of Indo-US nuclear deal and strategic relationship with the United States. As the Vajpayee government was following the neo-liberal policies and wanted to make India a junior partner of the US, apart from taking forward the communal agenda of the RSS, we extended outside support to the UPA-1 government in 2005 but fought inside and outside the parliament against the neo-liberal policies of the government. We prevented the sale of profit making public sector companies, opening the Indian banks to foreign investors, privatisation of pension funds and such other measures in the interest of Indian economy and the working people. Our principled opposition to neo-liberal policies, to the pro-US foreign policy and strategic relations with US imperialists brought us in direct confrontation with the reactionary forces in India and the imperialist powers outside. That is why they have joined hands to attack the strongest base of our party.


Concluding his address, Prakash Karat said workers of the CPI(M) and other Left parties are increasingly resisting these attack now. People too are taking out processions and rallies, and holding meetings and demonstrations. Despite the dual role of the central government, the poor and downtrodden sections are directly confronting the Maoists, even at the risk of their lives. Our strength is increasing even in tribal and Maoist affected areas, as is clear from the fact that we won the Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 3,00,000 votes in Lalgarh. We have forced the Maoists-Trinamul combination to retreat in certain areas. Karat expressed the hope that the countrywide campaign against the violent Maoist-Trinamul attacks will boost the ongoing class and mass struggles in West Bengal.




Hannan Mollah explained in details the significant achievements of the Let Front government in West Bengal. He said 13 lakhs acres of land were distributed among 30 lakh landless families in the state. Dalits and adivasis were the main beneficiaries of effective implementation of the land reform measures. Panchayat elections as well as decentralisation of power and planning gave a new height to the democratic movement. The Left Front government also ensured the rights of sharecroppers by registering their names and by providing security to their tenancy rights. All efforts were made to achieve a high rate of growth in agricultural production. Today, West Bengal is at number one in the production of paddy, vegetables and fishes. Lakhs of small and medium scale industries have been opened there because of the increasing demands due to increase in the common man’s purchasing power and there is a suitable atmosphere for the growth of industries. The government has also launched a scheme to pay Rs 1500 per month to the workers who have been laid off because of closure or sickness of mills. Unemployment allowance, old age scheme and many poverty alleviation and welfare schemes are given much relief to the people of West Bengal. The Left front government has not only provided security to the minorities but also modernised the madarasa education and increased their grants by a hundred times of what they got during the Congress rule. The West Bengal government has also implemented the recommendations of the Rangnath Mishra commission. Despite the limited power and resources of a state government, we have tried our best to give relief to the people as we had promised. However, the Trinamul Congress, the Congress party, all the reactionary forces, the Maoists and imperialist powers have entered into an unholy alliance to destabilise the Left Front government by creating the law and order problem, anarchy and chaos in the state. They are attacking our comrades and spreading violence. Mollah, however, expressed the hope that the people of West Bengal, politically conscious that they are, would give a fitting reply to the Maoists and others. The people of West Bengal are also aware of the great class struggles and mass movements which accrued strength to the CPI(M) and led to the Left Front government in the state.


The Patna meeting was presided over by CPI(M) state secretary Vijay Kant Thakur, with the state secretariat members being present on the dais. Leading comrades and leaders of various mass organisations from all over Bihar participated. A firm determination to change the difficult situation into a favourable one with the help of militant class and mass movements was evident. At least a hundred media representatives covered this occasion.