People's Democracy

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


No. 36

September 04, 2011



CPI(M) Plunges Into

Anti-Corruption Movement


Ashok Dhawale


THE arbitrary arrest of Gandhian social activist Anna Hazare by the Congress-led UPA regime even before he began his fast on August 16, was strongly denounced by the CPI(M) and by all other democratic and secular forces in Maharashtra. The CPI(M) Polit Bureau and the state secretariat gave a call for protest actions all over the state the next day on August 17. The CPI(M) state secretariat immediately contacted the leaders of other Left and secular parties and it was decided to hold these protest actions unitedly.


In fact, as soon as the news of Anna Hazare’s arrest came on the morning of August 16, several CPI(M) units in the state swung into action and held protest demonstrations on that day itself. On August 17, the CPI(M) and other Left and secular parties mobilised thousands of people in districts like Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Pune, Solapur, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Nanded, Nagpur, Wardha and so on.


A 3000-strong protest rally was held by the CPI(M) on August 17 in Anna Hazare’s own tehsil of Parner in Ahmednagar district. It was the first-ever CPI(M) rally in Parner, and it was also the largest among all the protest actions held in the district that day. In Nashik, a 2000-strong Left demonstration picketed the district collectorate. In Talasari in Thane district, a 2000-strong rally was organised by the SFI and Talasari observed a bandh. In Solapur, 1000 people joined a Left protest rally and 300 courted arrest. Jail bharo stirs were conducted in Ichalkaranji in Kolhapur district, Nanded, Wardha and other places.  


Mass organisations like the SFI and DYFI were especially active among students and youth. On Independence Day, August 15 itself, the DYFI state committee had given a call for statewide rallies against corruption. Thousands of youth joined these rallies in Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Solapur, Beed, Aurangabad and other districts. During the anti-corruption stir, the SFI mobilised thousands of students in districts like Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik, Solapur, Beed, Nanded, Aurangabad and Wardha.


As the days passed, the anger and resistance of the people grew in direct proportion to the intransigence of the central government in seriously responding to the issue of corruption. The Nine Parties’ call of nationwide protests on August 23 elicited another massive response in Maharashtra. On that day, over 1500 people led by the Left in Solapur burnt a ten-headed Ravana-like effigy of Corruption, the faces on the ten heads being those of the big scamsters from all the bourgeois parties. This novel protest was widely covered by the media. Police cases were lodged against 80 leading comrades. Aurangabad city had earlier observed a bandh which was very successful.


In almost all the 29 districts of the state in which the CPI(M) exists, large and enthusiastic actions took place on August 23, in which thousands of people took part. The two largest independent mobilisations of the CPI(M) were spread out last week in the various rural tehsils of Thane and Nashik districts. Thane district recorded a total participation of over 10,000, while in Nashik district it was over 8,000.


Apart from these independent actions of the CPI(M) or joint actions of the Left and secular parties, the CPI(M) also participated in the broader dharnas and rallies of citizens supporting Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption in various centres throughout the state. However, care was taken in most places to project the independent view of the Party on the Lok Pal Bill and on the issue of corruption as a whole.