People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIV

No. 46

November 14, 2010

CIVIC POLLS IN TRIPURA

 

Left Front Announces Candidates List

 

Rahul Sinha

 

THE Left Front of Tripura announced on Sunday, November 14, its list of candidates for the upcoming civic polls in the state. According to the on schedule announced, polling will take place on December 11 for 230 wards of the Agartala Municipal Council (henceforth AMC) and for the 15 Nagar Panchayats. Immediately after the poll schedule was announced, the Tripura Left Front Committee declared its list of candidates for 227 AMC wards in a crowded press conference at the CPI(M) state committee office. Candidates for the remaining three AMC wards are expected to be finalised and announced soon.

 

Releasing the list, Left Front convenor Khagen Das appealed to the electorate to ensure victory of the Left Front in all the wards to carry the process of development forward. CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar, its state secretariat member Gautam Das, CPI state secretary Prashanta Kapali, RSP state secretary Sudarshan Bhattacharya, AIFB state secretary Shyamal Ray and other Left Front leaders were also present at the Left Front press conference.

 

On this occasion, Khagen Das stressed that Tripura was the first state in the country to pass a bill for reserving 50 per cent seats in local bodies for women, and that the LF list was in keeping with this policy. Das said the AMC and the NPs run by Left Front have been actively engaged in working for the benefit of the people. Development is visible and the people themselves are witness to it. Central government officials and others who come to the state are not able to ignore it. This is being done despite the negative attitude of the centre in sanctioning the developmental projects of the state. Tripura was also the first state to introduce employment scheme for the poor people in urban areas whereas the centre is reluctant to introduce such a program on a national basis, in spite of our repeated demands. The state has increased the workdays from 50 to 75 this year despite the resource constraint. The Congress leadership in the state is silent on the problems facing the masses. Rather they are busy in misleading the people, running a malicious campaign against and attacking the chief minister and Left Front leaders in unparliamentarily language, and instigating people to create unrest. Condemning this attitude, Das appealed to the Congress leaders and their allies to refrain from such activities.

 

Bijan Dhar said the reservation schedule necessitates that 107 out of 230 AMC wards are reserved for women but the LF has decided to field women candidates in 115 wards. He said 85 of the sitting councillors have been renominated; the rest 142 are fresh candidates. Among the partners of the Left Front, the CPI will be contesting in 6, RSP in 5 and AIFB in 4 out of the 227 wards where names of candidates have been announced. Attacking the Congress party vehemently, he said five councillors of the outgoing AMC admitted in the concluding meeting of the council that the AMC had done a commendable job for the development of Agartala. He said it was natural that the Congress, as opposition, would criticise us. But they should better  first go and ask the central government, run by their own party, to release funds for us speedily, improve the deplorable condition of railway services in the state and reduce the prices of natural gas because of which the state was compelled to hike the electricity tariff. He also underlined that, besides other achievements, the atmosphere of peace and tranquility, the terror free environment prevalent in the state today including the urban areas is very significant. The credit for this goes to the state government and the civic bodies run by the Left Front. Clubs, social organisations and mass organisations have developed a sense of helping the distressed people through voluntary blood donations and other activities, as the LF run civic bodies have played a very positive role in this regard. He urged the people to vote for maintaining this atmosphere and carrying the process development forward.

 

Earlier on the same day, the state election commissioner Y P Singh announced the poll schedule in a press conference. The voting for the AMC and the Nagar Panchayats will be through the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and a total of 4.34 lakh voters will be casting their votes. Repolling, if needed, will take place on December 13 and counting of votes on the 14th.

 

CENTRAL

RALLY

Later, on November 17, the Tripura Tapasili Jati Samanwaya Samiti (Coordination Committee of the Scheduled Castes) organised a massive rally at the Stable Ground in Agartala, addressed among others by the chief minister, Manik Sarkar.

 

On this occasion, the chief minister said the central government is busy protecting the interest of the super-rich, hoarders and black-marketers, and is an enemy of the aam admi (common man). Thatís why it gifted the rich a tax relief of Rs 40 lakh crore but canít spend only 95,000 crore to ensure food for all. The only way of survival is struggle to change this policy discourse, and ensuring victory of the Left in the ensuing civic polls is a part of this struggle. 

 

The rally witnessed a huge gathering of different sections of the SC population in the state. The festive and enthusiastic mode of the masses was a proof of the Left Frontís deep support base among the downtrodden masses who have attained social equality under the Left Front rule which has effectively done away with all forms of untouchability from the state and has given them due share in education, job and power by strictly maintaining and adhering to the reservation rules.

 

The mass meeting was chaired by the Samiti president and the stateís higher education minister Anil Sarkar. Sukumar Barman, MLA, and Jharna Das Baidya, MP, also spoke in the rally.

 

Sharply criticising the centre on the issues of price rise and food security, Manik Sarkar said the centre is conspiring to do away with the public distribution system (PDS). We had proposed that 13 or 14 essential commodities must be supplied through PDS to keep the prices in control, and economists have calculated that it would cost Rs 95,000 crore to 1,00,000 crore annually. But the centre says it cant afford to spend such a huge amount. However, the same government gave the super-rich, capitalists, black-marketers and hoarders a tax relief of Rs 40,00,000 crore in the last two budgets. Then, whose government is this? It does shed crocodile tears for the poor before an election and but serves the rich after coming to power. Thatís its class outlook.

 

On the UPAís pre-poll promise to ensure food security, Manik Sarkar said the Congress continues the tradition of cheating the people. First they said food security would be for those below poverty line (BPL) only and now the talk is of providing only 25 kg of food grain per family per month at a higher than the present price, and that too in 100 districts only. As for the centreís contention that it doesnít know the exact number of BPL families, this is a blatant lie. The Arjun Sengupta committee has said 77 per cent of the Indians canít spend more than 20 rupees a day and the Saxena committee said 57-58 per cent families are BPL. The Tendulkar committee said the proportion is 37 per cent. Now, even if we take a mean of the three figures, the proportion will be over 50 per cent. The Human Development Report (UNDP) too has said 55 per cent of the people in India are poor. The Congress party, which has ruled the country for 51out of 63 years since independence, should be ashamed of it. They have betrayed the dreams of our freedom fighters.

 

Manik Sarkar said people of the country are waging a struggle to change this policy direction for their survival. Three nationwide strikes have taken place, reflecting the anger of the masses. But the central ministers are merry-making. The UPA government must not forget that it has got only 28 per cent of the votes. Sarkar said the ensuing civic election cannot be seen in isolation from the nationwide struggle. The victory of the Left here will not be for Tripura alone; it will enthuse the struggling masses all over the country.