People's Democracy

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


No. 23

June 10, 2012




Petrol Price Hike: DMK Stands Exposed


S P Rajendran


TAMILNADU recently witnessed --- once again --- the naked double standard of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), this time on the petrol price rise issue.


At a press briefing on May 30, former chief minister and DMK chief M Karunanidhi issued a ‘warning’ to the UPA government on the petrol price rise issue, saying that the DMK would not hesitate to quit the alliance if it came under compulsion to compromise on its principles.


However, on the very next day, Karunanidhi withdrew the ‘warning’ and described the media reports as “mischievous.” He told reporters that he had only talked about what had happened in the past and did not make any comment on leaving the UPA.


Karunanidhi further said he could not put any condition “as desired by the media,” as the exit of the DMK from the central government might pave the way for a retrograde and communal rule. “We have to keep in mind the issues. But the centre too should not create troubles for the people. I have also received information that the prime minister is considering a rollback in deference to the people's protests. I will be happy if it leads to positive developments.”


To a question on the protests organised by his party across the state on May 31, he said that it was against the hike in petrol price and not against the centre.


G Ramakrishnan and T K Rangarajan, leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), vehemently criticised the DMK chief’s doublespeak and accused the DMK, which party has been a part and parcel of the UPA-1 and UPA-2 governments and earlier of the BJP led NDA government too, of being one of the main culprits of petrol price rise and the policy decision regarding the deregulation of petrol prices.




The industrial city of Coimbatore witnessed a massive rally at the successful conclusion of four-day General Council meeting of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, on June 5.


The General Council began its meeting here on June 2, with its president A K Padmanabhan criticising the neo-liberal policies of the government at the centre. He also drew attention to the Left oriented trade unions struggling to protect the workers’ rights which the multinational companies and the pro-corporate policies born out of neo-liberalism seek to deny.


While many companies disallow the formation of trade unions, others seek to deny the existing ones their rights. It is sad that this should happen in a country with a very large workforce, Padmanabhan said at the inaugural session.


Flawed policies led to the creation of “contract” and “casual” workforce. A workforce with no security is being created in the country, he said.


Under such circumstances, it is vital to take forward the campaign against these policies. The General Council was to discuss these issues and also the approach of the United Progressive Alliance’s government at the centre that is inflicting hardships on the people, he said.


CITU general secretary Tapan Sen, Coimbatore MP P R Natarajan and state CITU’s general secretary A Soundararajan were among those who participated in the inaugural session.


After the four day deliberations on various issues facing the working class, the meeting concluded with the resolution to go ahead with more intensive struggles. On June 5 evening, thousands of workers moved in a procession in the streets of the city, followed by a massive public meeting.




There is every possibility of a 1991 type financial crisis recurring, former Kerala finance minister and CPI(M) Central Committee member T M Thomas Isaac said at a seminar organised by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions in Coimbatore on June 3.


The seminar took place on the sidelines of the CITU's General Council meeting.


Isaac said the country's trade deficit was Rs 2.50 lakh crore, meaning our imports far surpassed exports. To maintain the balance, the country was borrowing from outside. The $30,000 crore the country claimed to have in foreign exchange reserve would evaporate any time, as it was the money the foreign institutional investors had invested in our markets for a short time. However, the central government was scared of using the money – by releasing the dollars so as to stabilise the rupee.


Isaac pointed out that the exchange rate was Rs 44 a dollar a year ago but now it stood at Rs 55 and in another year it may touch Rs 70. The country would plunge into a crisis if the government did not intervene in the right way.


However, it appeared that the government did not have a solution. To revive the economy it should cut taxes, provide incentives to industries and increase spending. But if it did so, it would only increase inflation. The situation, called ‘stagflation,' did not have any solution in economics.


State CITU general secretary A Soundararajan urged the state government to protect the small, micro and tiny industries in Tamilnadu as they provided employment to around nine lakh people. If they suffered, he said, the state would suffer as a whole.


On the power crisis, he said that owners of seven lakh small and tiny units in the state had lost their 30 years' savings in the last six months because of the power crisis.


Madras High Court advocate R Vaigai spoke on how the court rulings over the years had affected the working class. She called on the trade unions to rise up to the challenge thrown at them by companies.


A V Varadharajan, former president of the Coimbatore chapter of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, spoke on the challenges entrepreneurs faced.