People's Democracy

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


No. 43

October 23, 2011

CPI(M) Organises Massive Rallies


Mariam Dhawale


ON October 10, 2011 to commemorate Martyrs Day and also the 15th death anniversary of the legendary CPI(M) and AIKS leader Comrade Godavari Parulekar, over 42,000 people led by the CPI(M) came onto the streets in large rallies in seven tehsil centres of Thane district in Maharashtra.


It may be recalled that it was on October 10, 1945 that the first police firing by the British colonial regime took place on the valiant Adivasi Revolt that had begun a few months earlier in May. This firing at Talwada village claimed the lives of five adivasi martyrs, the most prominent of whom was Jethya Gangad. Since that first firing, a total of 59 martyrs have so far laid down their lives for the Red Flag in Thane district, most of them in police firing by successive Congress governments.


The last two martyrs were Lakshya Beej and Babu Kharpade, who were shot down in cold blood by the police of the Shiv Sena-BJP regime in the Kawada village of Talasari tehsil on Republic Day, January 26, 1997. This firing took place a few months after the death of Comrade Godavari Parulekar on October 8, 1996. She was cremated at Talasari on October 10 by a gathering of tens of thousands, who included AIKS leader S Ramachandran Pillai and CITU leader Mohd Amin, among others.


In the last few years, large districtwide central rallies ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 people each, have been organised by the CPI(M) Thane district committee every year on October 10, and they have been addressed by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, and by CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Sitaram Yechury and K Varadha Rajan. The central rally last year was addressed by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and chief minister of Tripura, Manik Sarkar, who also laid the foundation stone for the new office of the CPI(M) Thane district committee at Talasari, to be called the Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Bhawan. The construction of this new office is now nearing completion.




With the statewide zilla parishad and panchayat samiti elections due in February 2012, the Party decided to replace the central districtwide rally this year with large rallies at the tehsil level on burning issues of the people. Over 42,000 people, an overwhelming number of them adivasi men and women, participated in these rallies in strength. Had it not been for the large-scale migration of tribals that had already begun and the rice harvesting operations that were then in progress, the total district mobilisation would have crossed the 50,000 mark. Mass organisations like the AIKS, CITU, AIDWA, DYFI and SFI worked hard for the success of all these rallies. The massive participation of women in most places 50 per cent or more was a distinctive feature of these actions.


State leaders of the Party addressed the different tehsil rallies. The largest 12,000-strong rally at Talasari was addressed by CPI(M) state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale and state committee members Kisan Gujar and Barkya Mangat. The 10,000-strong Dahanu rally was addressed by CPI(M) central committee member K L Bajaj, state secretariat members Narsayya Adam (ex-MLA) and Rajaram Ozare (MLA), and state committee members L B Dhangar and Edward Vartha. State secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale also addressed it at the end, having come after the conclusion of the Talasari rally.


The 7,000-strong Jawhar rally, which comprised people from the Jawhar and Mokhada tehsils, was addressed by CPI(M) state secretariat member J P Gavit (ex-MLA), state committee member Ratan Budhar and former sabhapati of the Surgana Panchayat Samiti in Nashik district, Ramji Gavit. The 6,000-strong Vikramgad rally was addressed by CPI(M) state secretariat members Mahendra Singh and Lahanu Kom (ex-MP and ex-MLA) and district secretariat member Shivram Girandhala.


The 3,000-strong Wada rally was addressed by CPI(M) state secretariat members Ajit Abhyankar and Mariam Dhawale; the 2,500-strong Shahapur rally by CPI(M) state committee member Vijay Gabhane and AIKS state joint secretary Dr Ajit Nawale; and the 1,500-strong Palghar tehsil rally at Manor on October 11 by CPI(M) state committee members L B Dhangar and Edward Vartha. Most of these rallies were very well covered by the local media.




All these rallies focussed on the burning issues of the people, which included the back-breaking price rise; inclusion of the poor in the BPL lists; universalisation and strengthening of the PDS; starting of the doorstep ration scheme; stringent implementation of the Forest Rights Act and the NREGA along with the issue of fair wages; issues of irrigation and power related to the peasantry; demands related to education, employment and health; issues of the anganwadi, Asha and other sections of unorganised workers; and the question of roads, infrastructure and other issues of development.


One important feature of all these rallies was the strong opposition to the increasing alienation of tribal land as a result of the land grab drive of the nexus of the urban and rural rich, in league with the builder-contractor lobby. On all these issues, memorandums were submitted to the SDOs and the tehsildars, and detailed discussions were held by CPI(M) delegations with these authorities.


The speeches of the Party leadership combined these burning issues of the people with the political challenges of the day, like the neo-liberal policies of the UPA regime at the centre and the Congress-NCP regime in the state, the stench of the massive corruption scandals in the country and their dire impact on the lives of the people, the anti-national conspiracies of terrorist and communal forces, the threat of imperialism to our country and the defence of the Left forces in West Bengal.  




On September 17-18, the CPI(M) held its Thane district workshop at Talasari, which was attended by around 250 leading activists of the Party and mass organisations. It was inaugurated by CPI(M) state secretariat member Mahendra Singh. State secretariat member and district secretary Rajaram Ozare placed the work report and state secretariat member Mariam Dhawale placed the future tasks. Two group discussions took place, in one of which the delegates were divided tehsilwise and in the other they were divided in groups of their mass fronts. Here they took decisions about the ensuing Party conferences from the branch level upwards, the preparations for making the October 10 tehsil rallies a big success, the Party rectification campaign, the tasks of the mass fronts and the coming political challenge of the zilla parishad and panchayat samiti elections. These decisions were reported by the comrades in the workshop. State secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale delivered the concluding speech. 


On September 24-25, the CPI(M) Thane district committee, for the first time in recent years, held two, one-day camps of all its elected members from the gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads one at Talasari and the other at Jawhar. In the partial round of gram panchayat elections held on June 26 this year, the CPI(M) had won 42 gram panchayats in Thane district, of which 19 had been newly wrested from its opponents. Over 500 elected members along with main Party activists attended both these camps, which were guided by the Party state and district leadership. The participants comprised a large number of women. Extracts from the Party Constitution and the CC Party Rectification resolution dealing with elected members were given to each participant. It was decided to make these meetings of elected Communist representatives a regular feature in the district, to ensure that they function effectively in the interests of the people.


Recognising that whole-timers are the backbone of the Party, the CPI(M) Thane district committee organised separate meetings of its whole-timers on September 16-17 and again on October 16. Around 30 to 35 Party whole-timers participated in these meetings. Again, this initiative was taken in the district for the first time in recent years, as preparation for the first-ever CPI(M) state-level camp for Party and mass front whole-timers that is being held in Mumbai on November 3-4, 2011.