People's Democracy

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


No. 50

December 12, 2010


Large Rallies

Held across Bengal

B Prasant


THE past two weeks have witnessed massive gatherings of people from all strata of life and livelihood – the masses surged forward at the call of the Bengal CPI(M) and the Bengal Left Front – in support of democracy and development, and in condemnation of terror and anarchy. 


More important than the seven-day stay-in programmes held at the very heart of Kolkata were the series of rallies held across the state.  These rallies were local in nature but universal in exposing the ill-doings of the forces of right reaction banded together with left deviation, and calling for the rising curve of development to be maintained in an ambience of spreading democracy.


The Kolkata rallies, however, proved the cynosure of the eye of the popular movement in Bengal, addressed as they were by senior CPI(M) leaders like Biman Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, among others.  As reported earlier, the week between 24 and 30 November witnessed different ‘days’ dedicated to the different facets of the people’s struggle in the state.  The following days were observed amidst large popular presence and great deal of lively enthusiasm.


-                     Demonstration programme in the metro centre of Kolkata over 24-30 November

-                     24 November – workers’-employees’ day

-                     25 November – women’s day

-                     26 November – kisans’ day

-                     27 November students’-youth day

-                     28 November – cultural day

-                     29 November teachers’-educational employees’ day

-                     30 November - central rally with participation from the jangal mahal, north Bengal and the Sunderbans


Biman Basu addressed the Kolkata rally on the inaugural day as well on the day the programmes drew to a close.  Biman Basu noted the violent assault on the lives and livelihoods of the masses at the behest of the ‘left’ terrorists and their allies in the right reactionary groups and outfits led by the Trinamul Congress. 


The speaker drew parallel with the events of dismay and disaster on the 1970s when thousands of CPI(M) workers and supporters were made homeless, and a large number of them killed in the most brutal manner imaginable.


The recent events in south Bengal in particular have left no doubt that the opposition outfits, devoid of a popular base, were willing to resort to terror tactics and keep the masses in a veil of fear until the Assembly elections next year, in a malformed attempt to unseat the democratically-elected and popular Left Front government.


The poor suffered as the result of the depredations, Biman Basu pointed out and added to say that in recent times, in the jangal mahal alone, 212 Left Front workers have been killed.  In the state as a whole, the same period saw 322 Left Front workers and supporters murdered.  Not be left out, the Pradesh Congress has launched vicious attacks on the CPI(M) and LF workers in districts like Burdwan, Murshidabad, and Maldah. 


The rallies held across the state would make the masses aware of the danger contained in the outfits of the right and the extreme left, and their lackeys in the corporate media.  Biman Basu underscored that mass mobilisation would be the correct response to isolate the anti-people elements and smoothen further the way forward along development and democracy.


Addressing the central rally on the afternoon of 30 November, Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that it was the Left path alone that would enable Bengal to move forward towards a brighter future. The talk of change that the opposition outfits mouthed constantly was indicative of a change for the worse, and the people should beware. 


Buddhadeb squarely held the Trinamul Congress and its cohorts responsible for the rapid array of murders being committed across the state.  He also laid the blame of betrayal of the cyclone Aila affected victims of the Sunderbans by the central government on the opposition parties. 


Buddhadeb pointed out also that the Trinamul Congress was not unwilling to strike deals with separatist groups in the north of the state. Ill-gotten attempts are made to divide the people across lines of region and language as well as caste in the north of the state at the behest of the Trinamul Congress who perhaps expect to reap political benefit out of all this.


The chief minister also spoke on the tie-up that the Trinamul Congress had with the ‘left’ terrorists, especially in the jangal mahal.  The LF government has not banned the ‘left’ terrorists because the LF government did not believe in authoritarian methods.  Taking ill advantage of democratic norms, the opposition outfits were not averse to plotting the wanton murder of poor kisans and of CPI(M) workers. 


Buddhadeb pointed out that in the Gyaneswari express accident, those named as accused belonged principally to the committee headed by the now-incarcerated Chhatradhar Mahato with whom the Trinamul Congress was hand-in-glove.  The Trinamul Congress had initially blamed the CPI(M) for the accident, and now since they have to eat their words, their way out is to maintain a stonewalling hush, and the silence is matched in the silence maintained on the issue in the corporate media.


Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee concluded by pointing out that to reinforce the anti-Left Front forces would be to strengthen anarchy, chaos, terror, and lack of development.  It would also, and ominously, mean that the redistributive land reforms movement would be reversed in the rural stretches.  The coming to office of the forces of reaction backed by the ‘left’ terrorists would also imply that the heard-earned rights of the toiling masses would be taken away and all facets of development stilled.


Among the rallies held in the districts, the one organised at Siliguri drew attention.  It was a march of at least 50,000 people from every walk of society along the Hill Cart Road.  The rallyists included a large number of women and people from the hill areas of the Darjeeling district.


Addressing the Kolkata rallies among others were Benoy Konar, Surjya Kanta Mishra, Madan Ghosh, Shyamal Chakraborty, Shyamali Gupta, Mohd Salim, as well as Ashok Ghosh (FB), Manju Kumar Majumdar (CPI), Subhas Naskar (RSP), Kironmoy Nanda (SP), Prabodh Sinha (DSP), Pratim Chatterjee (FB-M), Umesh Chaudhury (Biplabi Bangla Congress), and Mihir Byne (RCPI)