People's Democracy

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


No. 43

October 23, 2011



CPI(M) Seeks More Autonomy For Civic Bodies


S P Rajendran


THE Communist Party of India (Marxist) has demanded that the state government must give more autonomy to the civic bodies in the state and also increase the allocation of funds for them so as to fulfil the objectives behind the creation of the panchayat raj system. The party said, “It is sad that the successive DMK and AIADMK governments over the last few decades did not show much interest in enhancing the powers of civic bodies.”


Various state leaders of the CPI(M), including its state secretary G Ramakrishnan, Central Committee members N Varadharajan, T K Rangarajan and U Vasuki, and the party’s assembly group leader A Soundararajan as well as its state secretariat members raised from several forums the demand, among others, regarding the civic bodies in the state during their campaign for the polls that were recently for the local bodies.


It is to be noted that civic polls have taken place in Tamilnadu in two phases --- on October 17 and 19. The CPI(M) contested these elections in an electoral understanding with Vijayakant's DMDK. The CPI also supported this alignment in many places. The CPI(M) had fielded its candidates for mayor posts in Coimbatore and Vellore city corporations and for chairpersonship in 25 municipalities and 65 town panchayats. Other than these, the CPI(M) fielded its candidates for hundreds of wards in various corporations, municipalities, town panchayats, union panchayats, district panchayats and village panchayats.


During the preceding two weeks, leaders and cadres of the party and of various class and mass organisations tirelessly engaged themselves in the election campaign across the state. G Ramkrishnan and other leaders toured from Chennai to Kanniyakumari and asked for votes for the CPI(M) and DMDK candidates.   


At a public meeting in Tiruppur, where the party was contesting more than 40 wards of the city corporation, Ramakrishnan said that the district planning committees created across the state under the respective district panchayat chairmen should be allowed to come out with their own plans for the holistic development in the respective districts. He stressed that the state government should increase financial allocation to the local bodies from the present 10 per cent of the total tax realisation in a fiscal to at least around 35 per cent.


In Madurai, Ramakrishnan said the successive governments of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) have not done justice to the local bodies by not allocating them adequate funds and not delegating to them enough powers over the last 15 years.


Addressing reporters here, he said that the first State Finance Commission (1996-2001) had recommended allocation of 12 per cent of the state's revenue to the local bodies. “But to date only 10 per cent of the funds have been being given to the local bodies,” he said. Stating that the centre was sharing 30.5 per cent of its revenue with the states, Ramakrishnan said the state government too should share one-third of its revenue with the local bodies.


“Many of the panchayats are suffering without adequate funds. They could not foot even the electricity bill and pay salary to their employees. In this situation, how can they find funds for development works?” he asked.


Ramakrishnan also sought an integrated Urban Local Body Act for the town panchayats, municipalities and corporations.The Chennai Municipal Act, enacted in 1919, was very old and needed a fresh look, he pointed out.


While addressing a public meeting at Sivaganga, to canvass votes for the CPI(M) candidate M Arjunan, who is in the fray for Sivaganga municipal chairman post, Ramakrishnan said the people were fed up with the corrupt administration and malpractices in various local bodies. They did not fulfil the basic expectations of the people. It is high time to teach a lesson to both the Dravidian parties, he stressed.


Recollecting the incidents that led to the snapping of ties with the AIADMK, he accused that the latter party had evinced keen interest for an electoral understanding with the Communist Parties, Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam and other like-minded parties to capture power in the state assembly polls, but had announced candidates on its own, ignoring the alliance parties. The people have witnessed the drama of the AIADMK and should defeat its candidates, he pleaded. On the other hand, the DMK had been facing serious scam charges. It had lost its moral ground.


Ramakrishnan said the alliance of the CPI(M) and the DMDK would strive hard to ensure good governance and total transparency in the local bodies. That is why the people should give a chance to the candidates of this alliance.


At a meeting in Tiruvottiyur, the CPI(M) state secretary charged that the DMK and the Congress were going it alone in the local bodies though the two parties were partners at the centre and both were thoroughly exposed in the 2G spectrum scam.


“Most of the DMK's former ministers are facing land grabbing charges. We don't know when who is in jail and who is on bail,” the CPI(M) leader quipped.


He also criticised that though the AIADMK and the DMK had diametrically opposite views on all subjects under the sun, they were united by their love for exploiting the local bodies to fill up their coffers. “They never bothered about the tender procedures to implement development works. They formed a syndicate among themselves to appropriate and divided all the contracts among themselves.”


“We are participating in politics not to make money but to ensure that honesty and integrity are not sacrificed,” he said.


DMDK leader Vijayakant also toured across the state and campaigned for the CPI(M) and DMDK candidates.




Condemning the violence at several booths during the first phase of polling in the local body elections on October 17, especially in Chennai, opposition parties including the CPI(M) and DMDK have demanded fresh elections.


CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan petitioned the state election commissioner (SEC) S Ayyar that incidents of booth capturing and bogus voting had taken place at many booths in five wards after 2 p m on the day.


Many AIADMK ministers, MLAs and their kin entered the polling booths along with party functionaries and with the connivance of the police, he alleged.


Ramakrishnan and T K Shanmugam, the CPI(M)’s North Chennai district secretary, demanded repoll in several booths in these five wards within the corporation limits.


In a statement, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam president Vijayakant too said that his party candidates and poll agents were attacked and gravely injured by ruling party workers in Wards 35, 101 and 107. He condemned the highhandedness of the government machinery.


Asking the city police to arrest the attackers, he demanded that asked the SEC, which had failed to provide adequate security to the opposition party workers, must identify the polling booths where irregularities had taken place and order a repoll.


Nearly 75 per cent of votes were polled in the first phase.




The centre should put on hold all the work at the Kudankulam nuclear power project till an independent expert committee certified the safety of the nuclear reactors there, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s state secretary, G Ramakrishnan, has demanded.


Talking to reporters at Madurai during his campaign programme for the local polls on October 17, he said though the type of reactors used in Kudankulam were in use in European countries for the last four decades, it was for the first time that this type of reactors were being installed in India.


Pointing to the apprehension expressed by the local people, Ramakrishnan said the centre should appoint an independent expert committee to study the safety aspects of the reactors. “Till such time the panel certifies the safety of the reactors, the work should be put on hold,” he said.


The centre should handle the issue in the right way, he added.