People's Democracy

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


No. 09

February 26, 2012


Massive Historic Rally at

Brigade Parade Ground

From our Special



RED flag will never be bowed down in West Bengal. CPI(M) will never be browbeaten in West Bengal. That was the message sent out by the massive rally in Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on February 19, 2012.


This historic rally marked the conclusion of the 23rd state conference of the CPI(M), West Bengal state committee. This was the first conference after 34 years, when the Left Front is not in power. However, the participation of lakhs of people in the rally showed that the CPI(M) and the Left cannot be wiped off from West Bengal, even after unleashing massive terror and intimidation tactics. In the rally, the leadership of the CPI(M) explained the current political situation and the future tasks before the Party, as discussed in the conference. The gathering was much bigger than expected, spontaneous and spirited. Particularly, thousands of youth and students marched through the streets of Kolkata, indicating that the legacy of the Left movement would continue in West Bengal.




Biman Basu, secretary of West Bengal CPI(M), began his speech by congratulating the people for making the rally a huge success. He saluted and remembered the 577 comrades who laid down their lives in the struggle to safeguard democratic rights and hold high the Red flag of the Party. The success of today’s rally showed that the movement cannot be thwarted with terror and the CPI(M) in West Bengal will carry out the struggle for the people in unison with the broader democratic movement in the rest of India.


Basu said that the conference mainly discussed on how to overcome the weaknesses and shortcomings of the Party. In this regard, the conference pointed out that the way forward is to go to the people, speak to them, make them conscious about the false propaganda of the media and develop lively mass contact with the people. In West Bengal, the Party should be strengthened based on inner unity as well as unity with Left Front partners. There is however no place for complacency with the fact that there has been a huge rally. Rather, we have to remain vigilant and work hard to build up a strong movement.


On the farmers’ suicides in the state, Basu demanded that remunerative prices for their products be paid and called for building up struggles to safeguard the interests of the farmers. With regard to women’s issues, Biman Basu, pointed out that a heinous crime of rape was committed against a lady at Park Street recently. But the government said that the allegation was false, without knowing the facts and doing a thorough inquiry. Now, it has been proved that indeed such an incident took place. Even though the chief minister of the state is a woman, she has no vision to safeguard women’s interests.


Biman Basu also opined that students’ unions and educational institutions are under attack in the state. He complemented the students for carrying on the fight in the face of such heinous attacks. He appealed to the students to unite and continue the fight against hooliganism and anarchy in educational institutions. He also pointed out that the gains and successes of the Left Front government need to be protected.


Biman Basu appealed to the gathering to ensure that the February 28 all India general strike is a grand success in the state. He concluded his speech by reiterating that there is no place for complacency and appealed to the gathering to carry forward the struggle despite all oppression and terror by strengthening the CPI(M) and unifying all left forces.




CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat began his speech by saluting the 577 comrades who laid down their lives for the Party since the last conference. He said that the 23rd state conference is the first conference where Comrade Jyoti Basu is not present to give direction to us. We remember him for his visionary leadership of the CPI(M) and the Left Front government. Karat said that the sea of humanity present in the rally has given a message to the entire world that in West Bengal the Red flag flies high and cannot be erased from the state.


Analysing the current political situation of the country, Prakash Karat, opined that the UPA-II government has been a totally anti-people government. The government has the dubious record of presiding over the highest inflation of essential products since independence, one of the worst agrarian crisis in the country whereby lakhs of farmers have committed suicide and it has set a new record in corruption. This high inflation is a direct result of the policies pursued by the UPA government. The government decided to deregulate the price of oil and increased its price on 15 occasions over the last three years.


With the adoption of the policies of liberalisation, over 2,56,000 farmers have committed suicide in the country. Everyday farmers are committing suicide which is very shameful for the government. In West Bengal for the last 34 years, when the Left Front was in power, no such incident of farmer suicide took place. But with the new government coming to power, in the last nine months, 33 farmers have committed suicide. The misery of the farmers has increased with mounting debt and non-remunerative prices for the crop. Whether it is West Bengal or Kerala, the Left governments protect the interests of farmers and ensure that no such suicide takes place. But in West Bengal, the government is in a complete denial mode. The CPI(M) has demanded that immediate steps be taken to procure from the farmers and provide debt relief to them.


Prakash Karat mentioned that the Trinamool Congress indulges in double speak. The TMC is a part of the UPA government in the centre. When the price of oil was raised on 15 occasions, the TMC was party to the decision. But in Kolkata they say that they protest against price rise and they were not aware of the decision of price rise. He pointed out that the government is planning to pass a Food Security Act. But this Act maintains the distinction between BPL and APL categories and therefore will end up far from providing food security to the population. Why is the TMC silent about universal PDS, he questioned.


Karat said that in the coming days to save agriculture, farmers, workers rights, against inflation and unemployment, the CPI(M) and Left parties will continue their nationwide struggle. He pointed out that only the Left has an alternative vision and agenda. Efforts will be made in the coming days to build up a Left Democratic Front against the policies pursued by Congress and BJP.


He said that the attack on the West Bengal Party cannot thwart the advance of the Party in the state. The conference has resolved to carry forward the struggle even in the face of such attacks. He also said that a countrywide movement will be built up against the attack on the Left in West Bengal. Those who think that the Party can be stopped by terror should know the history of the communist movement in West Bengal, which has emerged fighting against all kinds of terror. The conference has resolved to rectify the mistakes and strengthen the Party to carry forward the movement. The large rally today has shown that large sections of the people are still with the CPI(M). No force can wipe off the CPI(M) from West Bengal.




Surjyakanta Mishra, leader of the opposition in West Bengal, said that the conference was held for the first time in 40 years when the Left Front is not in power. However, the huge rally showed that many people are there with the Party and from them the Party derives its strength. He said that nine months have passed since the government assumed office. But it was clear from the first day that the government is a one (wo)man government. Other ministers simply have no role. Dr   Mishra said that he has written more than 50 letters to the chief minister, given her the names and addresses of 56 comrades who have been killed. But there has been no response from her.


He pointed out that democratic rights in the state are under attack. Thousands of CPI(M) workers and supporters have been forced to stay away from home. Those who have come back are being forced to pay fines. More than Rs 50 crore has been collected as fines. Elected panchayat representatives are not being allowed to carry on their work. The government has failed to present a budget. It is inconceivable how a government can run without a proper budget. 


Expressing his surprise as to how the government is running, Dr Mishra said that the Singur Ordinance was brought when the assembly was in session, which was an unconstitutional act. Even after the Singur Act has been enacted, only 40 acres of land has been reclaimed by the farmers in Singur, showing that the demand for 400 acres of land for unwilling farmers was false, since the so-called unwilling farmers demanded only 40 acres.


He appealed to all sections of the people to protest against the attack on the Red flag since any such attack on the Left ultimately translates into an attack on the people at large. He reiterated the call of the conference to strengthen the struggle both inside and outside the assembly.




CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya   began his speech by congratulating the huge rally. He said that this historic rally proves that the Party is on firm ground. People supported the call for a change, and the government changed. But what kind of change are we witnessing? In the rural areas, the change has been very dangerous. Farmers are not sure where to sell the paddy crop. If they are able to sell, they are not getting a fair price. With rising debts and non-remunerative prices, they are forced to commit suicide. This has never happened in West Bengal.


He also said that the panchayats have become inactive. During the Left Front tenure, the panchayats were the hub of activities in the rural areas. The CPI(M) workers are not being allowed to work in the panchayats. Did the people want this kind of change? Even on the industry sector, the new government has not proceeded a single step towards setting new industries. On the power sector, question marks are being raised about the future of the Katwa power plant, sanctioned by the Left Front government.


Buddhadeb Bhattacharya pointed out that anarchy is prevailing in the state. Murders are happening every day. Few days back a lady was raped at Park Street. The government said that the allegation was false without conducting a proper inquiry. All over the state anti-socials have become very active. They are feeling that the government belongs to them. He appealed to all democratic minded people to stand up against this anarchy and the undemocratic attitude of the government. If such protests are not made, anti-socials will rule the roost.


He concluded by appealing to the people to help in strengthening the Left. Today, the Left is gaining strength all over the world. In West Bengal too there is no alternative but to strengthen the Left.




CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Mohd Amin began his speech by remembering Comrade Jyoti Basu. He said that we were witness to the semi-fascist terror of 1972-77 and emerged from it victorious. The present reign of terror will also not be able to keep us down. He said that the conference has resolved to overcome the shortcomings and build a stronger CPI(M). He said that on February 28 the entire country will come to a halt, with the workers’ strike against the neo-liberal policies of the UPA government. He appealed to the people to make the strike a grand success. Pointing out the fact that many comrades have been attacked who were coming to the rally, he said that the people will give a fitting reply to such activities. He appealed to the gathering not to lose hope, since the future is ours, which is socialism, which alone can save the humanity.