People's Democracy

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


No. 25

June 19, 2011

Nationwide Campaign to Defend Democracy in Bengal


N S Arjun from Hyderabad


THE Central Committee of the CPI(M) has decided to conduct a nationwide campaign to end the violence and defend democracy in West Bengal from July 1 to 7, 2011. It has decided to mobilise all democratic forces and public opinion against the violence and terror unleashed against the CPI(M) and the Left by the TMC-Congress combine in West Bengal.


CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat announced this at a media conference after the conclusion of two day CC meeting in Hyderabad on June 12, 2011. He also announced that the CPI(M), after consulting other Left parties, would chalk out a joint nationwide campaign on the issue of curbing corruption and unearthing and repatriation of black money. He asserted that it is the Left alone that is credible to take up the fight against corruption given its unblemished record in office and of its elected representatives.


Karat said the CC discussed about the big attack on CPI(M) and Left Front in Bengal after the recent assembly polls. Attacks on its offices, targeted killings of its activists, supporters not being allowed to stay in their homes etc are continuing. The TMC-Congress government has not shown any interest in stopping this violence. Over 400 activists of CPI(M) and other Left parties have been murdered since last Lok Sabha polls. Hence a nationwide campaign to safeguard democracy is being launched, said Karat.


About the movement against corruption, Karat said that the Left platform would focus on the source of corruption -- the neo-liberal economic policies. He said these policies were fostering the nexus of big business-politician-bureaucrats that has institutionalised corruption. 2G spectrum scam is an outcome of this nexus. The Left platform would also focus on judicial accountability and electoral reforms to curb the use of money power in elections. The CC also noted that the UPA government was displaying a tendency to assault democratic rights as seen in its actions to suppress protests against corruption and black money. It warned of fighting against such trends vigorously.




On the election review, Karat said the CC review was focussed mainly on Bengal and Kerala elections. The review identified the reasons for the big defeat suffered by the Left Front in Bengal. Notwithstanding the many achievements and gains made by the Left Front government, the prolonged rule of 34 years has led to accumulation of negative factors and people voted for change. Based on the review, the CC suggested certain correctives in order to win back the support of the people who became alienated. Karat underlined that while noting these reasons, the CC also noted that nearly 2 crore people, constituting 41 per cent of total votes polled, supported the Left Front. Substantial sections of the poor and working class stood with the Left Front. Although it is a long and arduous process, the Left Front will embark on CC suggested measures to regain the lost ground.


In regard to Kerala, Prakash Karat said the CC appreciated the organisational effort put up by the Party state unit for the elections. It has however asked the state committee to review at lower levels in such a way that it will strengthen the Party work in the coming period. For example he cited how the Party lost heavily in Mallapuram district and said it requires deeper review as to why this happened in order to draw proper lessons. Karat said that like in Tamilnadu, the issue of corruption played an important role in Kerala elections.


Karat announced that the CC decided to hold the 20th Congress of the Party in the beginning of April next year in Kerala. The exact venue would be decided shortly. The CC also decided on the time table of conferences from the branch level to the state committee.




On Nandigram and Singur mistakes: Buddhadeb had already stated that the political and administrative mistakes in regard these. Nandigram although there was no acquisition, the very idea itself raised the concerns of the people. We had reviewed and formulated our position on land acquisition in the extended CC meetings in Vijayawada, which is a public document. In response to a question, Karat said “We had earlier also regretted the loss of lives in police firing in Nandigram”.


On Buddhadeb not attending: Buddhadeb had told me when I had last visited Kolkata for the state committee meeting about his inability to attend the Hyderabad meetings. Because of his ill health he is not travelling outside Kolkata but was attending work at the Party office.


On the ‘confusion’ about ticket to VS: The candidate selection in Kerala was done in various stages. I had attended the state committee meeting to hear their views and in the final stage his name was there. The CC came to certain conclusions about the process and how speculation on this issue could have been avoided.


On leadership change: In communist parties, the leadership role is not decided on the basis of electoral outcomes. It is decided on the basis of political line that is pursued. Responding further to a query about Forward Bloc demanding a change in leadership in Bengal, Karat said he fails to understand how one political party can demand change in leadership of another party.


On return of 400 acres in Singur:The CPI(M) is not opposed to the return of 400 acres of land by the TMC-Congress government in Bengal. But the manner in which they went about it was illegal and unconstitutional and that has been pointed out. They must go about it in a proper manner.


On role in Kerala given the narrow majority of UDF: We are not in any way going to interfere with the verdict. We will play the role of an alert opposition and oppose any moves to reverse the good things done by the previous LDF government. We will protect the interests of the common people.


On Telangana issue: The central government has got all the views on this matter, including the Justice Srikrishna Committee report. The time for taking a decision on this issue has come but the centre is delaying it and this is harmful.