People's Democracy

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


No. 18

May 01, 2011




A Few Glimpses


Here are a few glimpses of Left Front's election campaign in Bengal during April 20 - 24, as presented by our correspondent, Rajendra Sharma.




Bali, April 20

FRONTALLY challenging the opposition’s charge of Bengal remaining backward in 34 years of Left Front rule, CPI((M) general secretary Prakash Karat charged them of following an anti-people understanding of development where growth in number of dollar billionaires is seen as a measure of growth. For the poor, they know only imposing burdens of price rise. Karat underlined that TMC-Congress alliance in UPA-2 government is following policies that have pushed agriculture in serious crisis and more than two lakh peasants have committed suicide in the past fifteen years. As opposed to this, the Left Front government in Bengal has implemented a policy that has taken Bengal to the top in agricultural growth.


Forcefully underlining the fact that Left and its state governments are following an alternative pro-people conception of development, Karat said that today the entire country is looking at Bengal polls. Making a fervent appeal for electing 8th Left Front government in Bengal, the CPI(M) leader said that this is not only needed for a secure future for Bengal but is also important for strengthening Indian people's fight against that very development model that these forces seek to extend to Bengal also. Karat on second day of his election tour of Bengal was addressing an impressive rally at Bali high school ground on Bank of Ganges.


Karat also criticised Mamata Banerjee’s claim of Bengal facing a tsunami

now. Reminding people about the kind of destruction wrought by the recent tsunami in Japan, Karat charged TMC-Congress alliance of wanting to throw Bengal in throes of similar kind of destruction. He expressed confidence that the people of Bengal will never let that happen. Karat also appealed to the people to re-elect CPI(M) candidate Kanika Ganguly. This impressive rally in sprawling ground was also addressed by leaders of CPI and RSP.




Kolkata, April 21

"Vote for Left-Front, to vote for yourself, to vote for your future, to vote for your security, to vote to protect yourself from violence, to vote for development."


With this appeal to Bengal voters, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury began his campaign for second and third phases of Bengal Poll. Yechury began his day by addressing a massive rally in Chapra assembly constituency for CPI(M)' s Shamshul Islam Mollah and Kalyani for CPI(M)'s Jyotsna Sarkar. Both the constituencies are in Nadia district going to poll on April 23 in the second phase.


In the evening in Kolkata, Yechury addressed three meetings in three different constituencies, first being Tollygunj. Asking people to vote for CPI(M) candidate,  Professor Parthpratim Biswas, Left Front and first and foremost for themselves, he reminded his mainly poor and middle class audience at the meeting next to Tollygunj Metro Station, about dark violent days of late sixties and early seventies when hundreds of promising lives were brutally cut short by forces using violence as a political tool. He cautioned that attempts to bring back violence and anarchy to the educational campuses, is a sufficient indicator of what is in store if these forces somehow manage to capture government in Bengal. Yechury reminded the people about the boast of Mamata Banerjee after 2001 poll, inviting people for a press conference at Writers' Building next morning after results. That morning never came and Yechury expressed confidence that the people of Bengal once again ensure repeat of the same.


In a detailed debunking of the opposition’s claims of 'change', Yechury reminded people of three major changes people have seen between UPA-1 (which was dependent on Left's support) and UPA-2 (in which Trinamool Congress is the second biggest partner): unimaginable corruption, unheard of price rise and economic policies bothering only about increase in number of billionaires. Yechury said if they want such a change to be brought to Bengal, people will never allow this. He also raised question of TMC's hobnobbing with ‘Maoists’ and reminded that TMC is using their arms for its own political gains. The prime minister on one hand repeatedly declares ‘Maoists’ are the biggest threat to internal security and on the other allows his own cabinet colleagues to hobnob with the same forces.

Yechury also criticised Congress president's remark that people of Bengal were befooled for 35 years in voting for Left Front. He reminded that late Rajiv Gandhi's remark calling Kolkata a 'dying city' had invited a sharp snub from the people of Bengal and said Mrs Gandhi may also get similar reply from people for calling them fools. Yechury also addressed a meeting at Dhakuria under Kasba constituency for youngest candidate in this election Satrupo Ghosh and at Ballygunj for Fuad Halim, both first time candidates.




Kolkata, April 22

"Who are the people buying those paintings (by Mamata Banerjee) for lakhs of rupees? We know that. What is their connection with people having interests in railway tenders? We know that. These are not paintings to feel proud of. These are paintings soiled with corruption."


Pointing out the unethical quid pro quo in various steps of Trinamool Congress, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat charged TMC-Congress alliance of bringing black money into Bengal politics.


Brinda also dared Mamata to disclose names of people from Mumbai and Chennai who, according to her own claim, had offered her money to defeat Left Front, which she did not accept. Bringing to attention recent Wikileaks disclosures of US being very keen on Left being ousted from Writer's Building, Brinda Karat asked people to overwhelmingly vote for the Left Front to defeat this conspiracy of all kinds of anti-people and anti-worker forces.


Brinda Karat was addressing a rally at Brahman Pada, under Entally constituency, for Dr Debesh Das of CPI(M) who is also state IT minister. Later in the evening she also went to address a meeting for CPI(M)'s candidate from Ballygunj, Dr Fuad Halim and also party's candidate for Jorashanko.


Brinda Karat began her hectic campaign in the evening by leading a huge padayatra to canvass support for CPI(M) candidate from Kasba, Satrup Ghosh. People in thousands participated in this padayatra.


Questioning the opposition's claims of standing for 'change', Brinda Karat charged that they want to change pro-people Left Front government in order  to open retail trade for foreign multinationals, which the Left would not allow. They want to finish off subsidies for the poor, which the Left won't let happen. They want to turn entire Bengal in to a 'mukt kshetra' (free zone) for ‘Maoists’ and all other kind of goons that the Left will not let happen. That's why all such vested interests have united against the Left Front. She also appealed to the people not to allow repeat of violent 1970s.


Appealing for victory of Eighth Left Front government, Brinda said that TMC-Congress alliance in government at the centre and Trinamool in many panchayats and municipal bodies in Bengal itself, has shown people a trailer of their 'paribartan'. People will say a decisive 'no' to suffering their destructive film.




Kolkata, April 23

WITH two phases of the six phase election over and fate of candidates for 104 seats of 294 assembly seats sealed in voting machines, a confident and somewhat relaxed Buddhadeb Bhattacharya is already talking more and more of top priorities of the Eighth Left Front government and less and less of anti-Left opposition.


Addressing a big election meeting under Entally assembly constituency on Saturday night, Bhattacharya not only urged people to elect CPI(M) candidate Dr Debesh Das but also made a special plea in his favour emphasising that his next government will need experience of present Information Technology minister for its programme of employment generation for youth.


In this connection he also promised serious work for creation of 2 lakh IT sector jobs in Salt Lake and 2 lakh more at Rajarhat. In all, promising creation of employment for around 10 lakh people. Underlining that this is  different from promise of as many jobs made by the opposition, he said that this will take very serious efforts and cannot happen without progress on industrial front. Budhadeb categorically said that industrialisation has to happen and Bengal, which has slipped on industrial front from top position with Bombay at the time of independence, will have to recover its position. In this connection he also underlined that in spite of opposition created impediments, in 2010 Bengal attracted investments worth Rs 15,000 crore.


But job creation can only be second top priority of the Eighth Left Front government, says Buddhadeb categorically. The first priority will be provision of rice at Rs 2 per kg to all needy persons, overlooking categories of APL/BPL. In a serious tone, he underlined that his government has worked out that with growth in production of rice in the state and with resources that the state government has decided to spare for this, it can be done.  The Left Front government gives priority to this as it relates to the question of bare survival of poor. He also promised distribution of dal, sugar etc at reasonable prices through the expanded Public Distribution system, at a later date.


Listing few of other top priorities of his next government, Buddhadeb drew attention towards condition of lakhs and lakhs of workers earning their livelihood from economic activities in unorganised sector. In this connection he reminded the cheering audience of steps taken by Left Front government like provision of Provident Fund for some 20 lakh workers, special social security scheme for transport workers etc. He also reminded that Bengal under Left Front government is the first state in India to provide 10 per cent reservation for backward Muslims. Around 85 per cent of Muslim community has been brought under purview of this reservation.


Taking on slogan of 'palat do' (upturn) of opposition, Buddhadeb asked what they want to upturn. We have seen what their central government is doing on questions like price rise. We have also seen what they are attempting on question of opening Banking, Insurance and Pension Fund sectors for foreign multinationals. They want to upturn Bengal's resistance to these disastrous steps? Do they want to upturn workers rights? Do they want to upturn peace prevailing in Bengal? Buddhadeb declared with full confidence that the people of Bengal will never let that happen. He underlined that in the state wherever violence is there, Trinamool is also there, be it Darjeeling, Jangal Mahal or any other area. He asserted that people will never allow repeat of days of Mastans.


Buddhadeb also pointed out that TMC is throwing huge amounts of money in this election. While questioning sources of money being burnt in helicoptoring TMC supremo, he expressed confidence that throwing money cannot win people's hearts and minds. Mocking at feverish media manufacturing of Left's defeat, Buddhadeb said every time they declare our definite defeat and every time we win. With confidence of result this time Budhdeb said, 'people are many times intelligent than owners of these media houses’.  

The same evening Buddhadeb also addressed two more big public meetings at Purb-Singhi, under Belgachia and Rajar Bazar under Beliaghata constituency.




Kolkata, April 24

"The Left Front government in Bengal is a government for people's unity, people's prosperity and democracy for the people." Thus summarising the basic role of Left Front government, chief minister of Tripura and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Manik Sarkar reminded people of Bengal of the need and necessity of forming Eighth Left Front government in Bengal.


After extensively campaigning outside metropolitan city, in his first mass meeting at Kolkata on Sunday evening, Tripura CM underlined that an Eighth Left Front government is not only need of the people of Bengal, but also a crying need of working people of the entire country suffering the disastrous policies of Cong-TMC combine at the national level. He emphasised that Left is the only hope for suffering people and Bengal being its mightiest contingent, Eighth Left Front government is a must for an effective intervention to save people. Tripura CM also pointed out how it's only the three Leftist governments — of Bengal, Kerala and Tripura — that have resisted, disastrous policies imposed on whole of the country by Cong-TMC combine's government at the centre.


In this connection, Manik Sarkar drew the receptive audience's attention towards destruction of PDS, job opportunities, public sector, public education, public health etc by the current rulers of nation and their shocking corruption scandals. He pointed out that the same forces are now demanding a ‘change’ in Bengal, to bring all these to Bengal also. Sarkar discussed in detail the achievements of 34 years of Left Front rule in Bengal in fields such as ensuring more equitable, rapid development in agriculture that has laid the basis for rapid strides in industrialisation; taking democracy to grassroots through panchayati raj system and giving it real powers of decision making regarding development programmes; ensuring democratic rights to all working people and deprived sections; developing education, health, infrastructure and other basic sectors; providing relief specially to poor and unorganised and defending unity and secular fabric of society.


Claiming that in his extensive campaigning in different districts of the state he has seen overwhelming support for the Left Front, Manik Sarkar said that unlike what media assumes, the people of Bengal are intelligent enough to see the reality of ganging up of all national and international forces of reaction behind the facade of paribartan. Sarkar also underlined the significance of Left Front’s promise of continuing efforts for industrialisation and a universalised PDS in state. Referring to repressive and violent years of 1970s, when he himself was a student at Kolkata, Manik Sarkar also underlined that people do not want a return of those black days.


This meeting held at Kaurgachi under Maniktala assembly constituency was also addressed by CPI(M) candidate Rupa Baxi and Sukumar Mukherjii, Minister for relief in the LF government. Famous swimmer Bula Chaudhary and renowned actor Arindam Seel also addressed the gathering and appealed vote for Rupa Baxi and Left Front.