People's Democracy

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


No. 43

October 24, 2010

CPI(M) Seeks to Win Vibhutipur

for the Fifth Consecutive Time



HOW much the consistent land struggles waged by the CPI(M) in Samastipur district have rooted the Party in the masses can be seen from its candidate's electoral record in Vibhutipur constituency. Ramdev Verma, CPI(M) state committee member and sitting MLA from this constituency, has been winning from here without a break since 1990. Despite the fact that the CPI(M) stronghold, Ujiarpur, has been bifurcated from this constituency and made into a separate constituency under delimitation exercise, the CPI(M) leader is confident of maintaining his winning record. He polled around 48,000 votes in 2005 assembly election, winning with a comfortable margin of 14,000 votes over the Janata Dal (United) nominee. He asserts that this time the margin is going to be bigger in the four-cornered contest involving JD(U), LJP and Congress. Polling takes place in the second phase on October 24.


Verma's confidence stems from the amount of work done by the Party and the militant struggles it waged here for the benefit of the downtrodden people. This area, along with the adjoining Darbhanga district, witnessed militant land struggles in which 22 comrades became martyrs since 1993. Another two were killed by criminals while fighting against corruption in government schemes. Thousands of agricultural workers could get houses to live and land to till by occupying the surplus lands of zamindars under the leadership of CPI(M). Verma himself led many such struggles and is on the hit list of the landlords. He is provided with a high level security by the government, with three gunmen and an escort jeep. Another 12 comrades who are leading the land struggles have a threat to their life.


The CPI(M) candidate is pitted against the Janata Dal (United) candidate Ram Balak Singh, who has total backing of landlords and criminals in the district. Also in the fray is Lok Janshakti Party nominee, Ramesh Prasad Rai, who has criminal background and is a relative of renowned criminal, Suraj Bhan. Consequently, Verma is hammering home the point of having peace and development in the constituency by defeating those with criminal background. Verma's stature as an honest, senior MLA and his impressive performance in the assembly make him stand apart from the contending nominees.


How caste divisions fostered by bourgeois-landlord parties can be overcome and the unity of the working people preserved can be seen here. As the bitter land struggle went on, the poor agricultural workers belonging to the backward and scheduled castes along with those from the upper castes clearly saw in whose interest the struggles were being waged. With the attacks by the landlords growing and the class struggle sharpening, it became much more clear. The upper caste landlords sought to keep the poor from their castes away from the CPI(M) by branding it as a pichdon ka party (a party of the backwards). This didn't cut ice with them. Today, the CPI(M) candidate gets votes of both the upper caste poor as also of the most backward of the dalits, the Musahrs. There is an overcoming of the caste barrier to the extent possible in the present situation.


With growing burdens on the people in the form of price rise, corruption in government schemes etc, there is a threat for an incumbent MLA to be affected by the discontentment of the people. Asked about this, the CPI(M) leader says that the Party carries out an intensive political campaign among the people explaining about the government's policies that are resulting in such a situation. And, apart from the land struggle, the Party has waged many struggles on availability of fertiliser and other agricultural inputs, against the corruption in welfare schemes and on other people's issues. So, this also helps in demarcating the Party, he says.


Asked about the use of money power by his opponents, Verma tells us that a lot of money has been made by contractors-criminals-politicians in the course of last few years in the name of development works. There is a real threat of that being used in these elections. However, the Party is prepared to counter it and has plans to have vigilance teams at all entry points in the area from the night of October  21 to sieze such money.


As our chat with Verma was continuing, in walked a poor peasant and loudly greeted him “Namashkar Vidhayak ji”. Even as Verma was acknowledging the greeting, others tried to keep the peasant away saying the MLA is talking to press persons. But the peasant did not relent and asserted his right to an audience with his MLA. And, it was wilfully granted. That, in a frame, showed to us the kind of connect that the CPI(M) MLA has with the poor in his constituency. No wonder he is confident of a fifth consecutive victory.

N S Arjun from