People's Democracy

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


No. 30

July 29, 2012




Mass Support on Food Security, BPL Issues


MORE than 10,000 man and women gheraoed the collector’s office at Bhavnagar in Gujarat for two hours in protest against the rising prices and for 35 kilogram foodgrains at Rs 2 per kilo to all citizens. It was at the call of the Left parties, viz the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc, to take up the issue of food security.


All through the past few weeks, in June and July, units of the CPI(M) made preparations in their respective areas, campaigned and decided to hold rallies between July 6 and 13. The campaign began over one month ago in Bhavnagar city and other parts of Bhavnagar district, including Palitana, Mahuva, Hatheb and Ghogha, and brought people in good numbers to the concluding rally on July 11.


In Bhavnagar town, every ward unit made hectic preparations and a “Monghvari Rath” visited the wards on allotted days. The rath was fitted with a microphone and bedecked with various kinds of posters which drew attention of the city people. Nalini Jadeja and Ashok Sompura, the CPI(M)’s Bhavnagar city secretary, toured in the “Monghvari Rath” that started from Bhagat Singh Chowk in the city and travelled more than 200 km distance, covering 17 wards of the Municipal Corporation in six days. From July 5 to 10, local leaders of the CPI(M) held and addressed more than 73 meetings in different areas along the route of the Monghvari rath.


The public meeting at Bhagat Singh Chowk, one which sent the rath upon its journey, was presided over by veteran CPI(M) leader Subodh Mehta and addressed by the CPI(M)’s state secretary Arun Mehta, district secretary Nalini Jadeja and city secretary Ashok Sompura. During these days, more than 30,000 handbills were distributed to explain the issues related to the food security bill, the situation of the poor people in Gujarat vis-à-vis the APL-BPL division, and the sad plight of the public distribution system.


On July 11, people in good numbers reached Moth Baag where a public meeting was organised. In fact, more than 10,000 people, with women in hitherto unprecedented numbers, gathered in the said garden that overflowed, so much so that all the adjoining roads too were occupied. The huge mass meeting continued for more than two hours. People from Palitana, Mahuva, Ghogha, Botad, and Hathab came to the garden in trucks.


After the meeting, the people marched in a procession to the Collectorate and the Municipal Corporation. Both these offices are facing each other. The demands they raised were as under:


1) Forthwith arrest of the all-round price rise; declaration of forwards trading in foodgrains as illegal; withdrawal of the petro-product prices; early passage of the Food Security Bill without waiting for elections.


2) As the process for issue of BPL cards in Bhavnagar stands completed, these cards must be distributed forthwith.


3) Immediate start of the supply of 35 kilo foodgrains at Rs 2 per kg to all ration cardholders without dividing them into the APL and BPL categories, and incorporation of this provision in the food security bill.


The Bhavnagar Collector came out of his office to meet the CPI(M) delegation and receive its memorandum. He promised that he would call a meeting of all officers on July 16, and invited the entire mass on that day.


The district units of the AIDWA, CITU, DYFI and Slum Dwellers Union put in hard work for the success of the campaign that also sought to highlight how the Congress as well as the BJP has been, despite their verbal commitments, trying to scuttle these demands. The CPI(M) has made it clear that it would not rest content till these demands were met and that it would organise actions in the state during the five days from July 30 to August 3 when the Left parties would be staging a dharna in front of parliament in New Delhi.


The CPI(M) and CPI have planned joint rallies, gheraos, jail bharo and other action programmes in 14 districts of Gujarat.