People's Democracy

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


No. 13

March  27, 2011




A Failed Govt Faces Popular Protests


S P Rajendran

TAMILNADU, the southern-most state of the country, recently witnessed massive protests against the anti-people policies of the state and central governments. The state is currently being ruled by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) which is a close ally of the Congress in the UPA and a partner in the central government. Here we recount some of these protest actions.


On February 9, the Students Federation of India (SFI) held a big procession of the hosteller students towards the state assembly building at Chennai, demanding basic amenities in the BC, SC and ST student welfare hostels. The processionists, who later turned into a public rally, also demanded healthy food in the government hostels while urging the government to open more hostels as the number of students is fast increasing. More than 5000 students, including about a thousand girls, joined the procession, carrying the SFI flags in their hands. State SFI leaders K S Kanagaraj and J Rajmohan presided over the rally. CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan inaugurated the rally which B Uchimakali, convener of the SFI’s hostel students committee, V Karikalan and others addressed.


On February 10, more than 20,000 people organised a protest action under the banner of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Tirupur, demanding basic needs like drinking water, ration cards, house-site pattas and homestead plots for the homeless. T K Rangarajan, a member of Rajya Sabha and of the Central Committee of the party, addressed the masses. He charged that the DMK government had utterly failed even in arranging the minimal infrastructure during its 5 years long rule. CPI(M) state secretariat member K Thangavel, district secretary K Kamaraj, DYFI state president S Muthukannan, Tirupur south city secretary M Rajagopal and other leaders participated in the action.


On the same day, in protest against the irresponsible attitude of the DMK government regarding the more than two lakh vacant places in almost all its departments all over Tamilnadu, the TNGEA (Tamilnadu Government Employees Association) organised a statewide one day token strike. Responding to the call, nearly two lakh employees struck work and held demonstrations in their respective areas. The massive strike paralysed the entire administration of the state government in the collectorates, taluk offices, rural development offices, union offices, CTOs and treasuries etc. One of the major demands in the employees’ charter of demands was that the new pension scheme must be given up.


On February 14, cloth merchants and weavers in Erode and Karur districts went on a two-day strike in protest against the spiralling prices of cotton yarn. Over 5,000 wholesale and retail outlets selling yarn and other textile goods in Erode town and other parts of the district remained closed. Powerloom weavers in Chennimalai, Vijayamangalam and a few other parts also participated in the protest and stopped production. Hundreds of weaving and knitting units in Karur as well remained closed. Members of the Erode Cloth Merchants Association, who had called for the strike, also observed a fast here, urging the central and state governments to initiate measures to rein in the prices. One may note that the weaving sector, the second largest employer in the district, has been severely affected due to the sharp increases in cotton yarn prices. There has been an increase of 50 per cent to 60 per cent in the cotton yarn prices since last year, which has put a lot of stress on the weaving units. The merchants urged the government to ban the export of raw cotton and cotton yarn in order to protect the domestic industries.


In recent days, several parts of the state witnessed continuous struggle of milk producers from various associations, including the Tamilnadu Milk Producers Association which is affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). The milk producers also went on a strike for ten days to demand an increase in the procurement price for milk. They are demanding a hike of Rs 8 per litre for buffalo milk and Rs 5 for cow milk. They charged that the policies of the DMK government favoured the private milk corporations by demolishing the state owned milk corporation called AAVIN. They insisted that the cooperative milk societies must be allowed to properly function. The militant struggle of the milk producers forced the government come down from its high pedestal and talk to their representatives. Finally, the government accepted the major demands including an increase in procurement prices. Earlier, the government had unleashed repressive measures and arrested the milk producers’ leaders like K Mohd Ali, A M Munusamy and others.


The Left has won the election to the educational committee of Annamalai University, the largest and one of the oldest universities in the state. (The university is situated in Chidhambaram, in Cuddalore district.) Asokan, Selvaraj, Natarajan, Vezhavan, Palnivel, Anbuvel and Seeman, all the seven candidates belonging to the federation of teachers' associations, were declared elected. They will serve on the educational committee for the next three years.




On February 13, the Communist of Party of India (Marxist) made it clear that it will not accept the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the alliance led by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan told reporters at Ramanathapuram that the communist parties were following a policy of not having any electoral tie-up with communal forces.


Asked about the indication given by the Tamilnadu BJP leaders that their party was ready to join hands with the opposition parties, including the Left, in order to defeat the DMK-Congress alliance, Ramakrishnan said the Left parties would align with any outfit, but not with the Congress or the BJP.


Asked whether the CPI(M) was happy with the progress made in the probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the 2G spectrum scam, Ramakrishnan said it was premature to comment on it as the CBI was under the control of the centre. Though the case was registered in 2009, former telecom minister A Raja was arrested only recently. The CPI(M) leader also said there were reports that members of the ruling family, big industrial houses and others were among the beneficiaries in the spectrum scam. The CBI should bring to book all conspirators and beneficiaries, he demanded.


Pointing to the sharp increases in the prices of essential commodities, Ramakrishnan said the state and central governments had utterly failed to control the situation. Stating that the price of petrol was hiked seven times since the fuel was decontrolled recently, he said the Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia had said the centre would decontrol the diesel and cooking gas soon.


Earlier, Ramakrishnan inaugurated the work for construction of the party’s district committee office building at Ramanathapuram. State secretariat member S Noor Mohemmed, senior leader and Semmalar editor S A Perumal, CPI(M) district secretary R Gnanavasagam and senior leader M Karuppuraja were also present on the occasion.




On February 14, the Puducherry police arrested 362 workers of the Puducherry Cooperative Spinning Mills Limited (SPINCO) for trying to take out a protest rally in front of the residence of V Vaithilingam, the chief minister. The workers had assembled near the Swadeshi Cotton Mills, to demand higher wages and other benefits. When they tried to take a procession out to the chief minister's residence, the police blocked their way near the mills and took them into custody. Puducherry is now under the rule of the Congress party.