People's Democracy

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


No. 23

June 05, 2011




‘Red Flag Will

Fly High in Bengal


From Our Special

Correspondent in Kolkata


“Red flag will fly high in villages and towns of West Bengal. We will defend the honour of Red flag”, with these words from Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the Left front began its new journey. On May 31, the first public rally of the Left Front post assembly elections was held in Rani Rashmoni Road in Kolkata. Thousands of Left Front activists gathered in a spirited mood, braving rain and hailstorm and declared their determination to carry forward the legacy of people’s struggle in the new situation.


The rally was organised to protest against the price rise and corruption. Presiding over the rally, Left Front chairman Biman Basu, strongly protested the central government’s move to hike petro prices and the violence let loose against the Left parties in the state after the elections.


Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee attacked the UPA government at the centre saying, "The UPA-II government during the last two years has raised petrol prices eight times, leading to hardship for the people and is planning to raise them once again. It is at the behest of IMF and World Bank that the central government has deregulated petrol prices," He said that subsidy in petro prices must be maintained by the government in order to keep prices of essential commodities under check. Alleging that futures trading in essential commodities has caused severe hike in their prices, Bhattacharjee said, "We want public distribution system strengthened throughout the state so that people can be given rice, dal, kerosene and other essentials at affordable prices."


Critical of prime minister Manmohan Singh, Bhattacharjee said, "The prime minister said a historic event has happened in the loss of the Left Front in West Bengal. But I want to remind you that we still have the support of 1.95 crore people who voted for us. Left Front, even when defeated, has got 41per cent of votes while the prime minister was running a government with 29 per cent of votes.”


Stating that the Left Front would take lessons from the election defeat, Bhattacharjee said, “We will definitely analyse what are the reasons of our defeat, what we could not achieve.” But that does not mean that the Left activists will be attacked,  Bhattacharjee said, "They have destroyed hundreds of our Party offices and forcefully taken over several other hundreds. At least 5000 Left Front workers have been rendered homeless, CPI(M) and RSP leaders and activists have been murdered. Trade Union offices have been forcibly occupied. They have the audacity of removing the Red flag from our offices. Thousands of people have been ordered by Trinamool Congress to pay extortion money or leave villages. We won't tolerate this." He urged an immediate stop to the ongoing attacks on CPI(M) and other Left Front workers and forced occupation of Party offices by Trinamool Congress workers in different parts of the state.


Bhattacharjee, questioned the so-called arms haul from CPI(M) offices, saying "If anything, the police should do its job. Police and Trinamool Congress workers going together to look for arms from our Party offices is raising a lot of questions. Who will believe that CPI(M) has kept arms in their Party offices, that too wrapped in Red flags?”


Bhattacharjee said, “We are watching the new government. We are watching what they are doing in industry, in education, in other areas. We will decide our course of action in response to their course of action”. Amidst thunderous applause, he called upon the Left workers to defend the dignity of the Red flag.


Speaking at the rally, Left Front chairman Biman Basu said, “In democracy, there are victories and defeats. We have immediately accepted the defeat. But violence has been unleashed against the Left Front. We will mobilise people and protest against it.” He criticised the UPA government for implementing  pro-rich policies, thereby increasing burden on the people.