People's Democracy

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


No. 19

May 08, 2011




Common Masses are with Left Front


The common masses of West Bengal are realising, through their own experience, that in order to ensure the development of the state and maintain the rights and successes they have achieved so far, there is a need to install the eighth Left Front government in office. Consequently, they are vigorously participating in the political battle in favour of the Left Front, stated CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and chairman of Left Front Biman Basu on May 4.


In an interview to People's Democracy at Party state committee office, Muzaffar Ahmed Bhavan in  Kolkata, Basu expressed confidence that the Left Front will emerge victorious in the present state assembly elections.


Below we give excerpts of the interview:


(Q) With four phases of polls completed in the present election to Bengal assembly, what is your assessment of the electoral situation?

After completion of four phases of polls covering 242 constituencies, judging the mood of the electorate, it is evident that the Left Front will emerge victorious to form the eighth Left Front government in the state. The conspiratorial move of the combined opposition, particularly the lies, slander and concocted stories of the Trinamool Congress, have been exposed before the Bengal electorate by the Left Front. During the 2009 parliamentary polls, Trinamool Congress had mounted a slanderous campaign against the Left Front government by propagating that it would snatch away the lands of Muslim minorities.


Since then the Left Front activists have launched a systematic and intensive campaign to expose this and such other lies spread among the people. It was pointed out that 73 per cent of the land distributed by the LF government went to most poorest sections and among it 18 per cent was distributed among landless peasants of Muslim community, 37 per cent to the SCs and 18 per cent to the STs. So, it was emphatically stated that the Left Front has no intention of taking land away from the poor. In such manner, the common people of the state have realised through their own experience that there is a need to install eighth Left Front government to maintain their rights and successes and in order to ensure the development of the state. That is why they are participating vigorously in this political battle in favour of the Left Front.


(Q) There has been a good and spontaneous response to the present Left Front election campaign in both urban and rural areas. What has the Party and Left Front done post 2009 Lok Sabha polls to rejuvenate the confidence of its activists and supporters that is so evident now?

We always say that election is a political battle. Since Singur and Nandigram episodes, the opposition has started an ugly campaign against the Left parties, particularly against the CPI(M). During Lok Sabha polls they unleashed a religious and casteist campaign in selected areas that created an impact on the people. The outcome of this vile propaganda of the opposition was the creation of great confusion in the minds of the electorate and our losses in that election reflected this.

A section of Left parties activists, including of CPI(M), were disheartened and frustrated. We undertook a serious review of the election results and chalked out a broad campaign to correct the situation. We began a movement against the anti-people policies of the Congress-TMC led UPA-II government at the centre. We also organised a big mobilisation in Kolkata on August 31, 2009 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the great Food movement of 1959. That was the first turnaround and marked the beginning of fighting back the onslaught of national and international reactionaries against us.

We knew the 2011 assembly election is to be fought in a difficult situation and therefore decided that the campaign shall not be conducted in a monologue fashion. We decided to have a dialogue system of campaign and carried out an intensive one approaching all households. We sought to know the questions in their mind and answered them convincingly. With this methodology, we could achieve success in overcoming the confused state of affairs post Lok Sabha polls.


(Q) Trinamool Congress has indulged in attacks on CPI(M) activists and supporters in few areas during the fourth phase of election on May 3. The remaining two phases of polls on May 7 and May 10 are to take place in jangal mahal area. How do you see this violence in the present context?

It is a fact that the first three phases of election, barring a few incidents in Bijpur constituency in North 24 Paraganas where union minister's son is contesting, went off peacefully. But, the fourth phase on May 3 witnessed some irregular practices which are bad for free and fair polls. Actually, we had apprehensions that the TMC-backed hoodlums may create problems in certain areas of East Midnapore, Howrah and Hoogly. We informed the Election Commission well ahead of the polling. But, unfortunately EC could not make fool-proof arrangements and as a result in certain areas the Left activists, including election agents, were manhandled. In Khetugram of Burdwan district our candidate was attacked.


Given the incidents during the fourth phase of polls, we feel that the EC must adopt stringent measures to deal with the last two phases of polls in jangal mahal area. In jangal mahal area, the TMC and so called Maoists, along with their outfit PCPA are moving unitedly. Since last parliamentary election of 2009, around 400 CPI(M) and Left parties leaders and activists were killed by these forces. The 'Maoists' leaders want to see Mamata Banarjee as chief minister. She has repeatedly stated that there are no 'Maoists' in jangal mahal in order to protect them. Therefore, the assembly election in these areas is a serious test before Indian democracy.


(Q) Your thoughts on the corporate media's totally biased coverage during these polls.

Actually in the present election, the Left Front is fighting against the ugly opposition led by TMC and a section of corporate media. In fact, right from the beginning of election campaign, sections of corporate media began creating an impression that the TMC-Congress combine will win this election while at the same time continuing slanderous campaign against LF government and Left parties, particularly the CPI(M). The huge advertisement campaign launched by TMC in all electronic media and radio channels is an indication of the black money they are spending in these polls. The indiscriminate use of helicopter, which is highly costly these days, is another indication. The corporate media never raised any questions on this huge expenditure. The Election Commission has to look into the issue of the role of black money being used by TMC in the present election.


(N S Arjun from Kolkata

May 4, 2011)