People's Democracy

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


No. 49

December 09, 2012





CPI(M) Rally Debunks Modi’s Development Claims


Arun Mehta


ON November 18, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat visited Bhavnagar in Gujarat in connection with an election rally of the party. The public meeting which she addressed on that day was the first election meeting in the area, attended by more than ten thousand people. The audience included a large number of women, BPL card holders, slum dwellers, workers, government employees, railwaymen and shopkeepers.


Senior CPI(M) leader in Gujarat, Subodh Mehta, presided over the rally. He also detailed the successes of CPI(M) led struggles in the state.


In her hard-hitting speech, Brinda Karat gave details of the Modi government’s performance, castigating the BJP chief minister, Narendra Modi, for following the same set of policies for which he fondly flays the central government. The Modi rule was thus an example of double-facedness pure and simple, Brinda Karat said.


The facts and figures which the CPI(M) leader quoted highlighted the situation of undernourished children and pregnant ladies in the state, complete neglect of the poor people, shocking increases in the number of school dropouts, etc. In higher education, the policy of privatisation and commercialisation is making the colleges and universities out of reach of the not-so-well youth. The educational fees have been hiked very sharply this year. On the other hand, the Modi regime of the BJP has led to sharp increased in the number of jobless youth roaming about in search of some earning.


Agriculture is beset with a number of and growing problems in the state, because of which a large number of kisans have abandoned agriculture altogether and turned to other vocations.


As for food security for the people, the Modi government has done away with schemes like the Antyodaya and the public distribution system. While other states of our country have so far issued four crore BPL cards, the Modi government is totally shirking this responsibility; in fact it is busy giving the impression that Gujarat is having no BPL population whatsoever! This is despite a rise in the number of poor people, as was evident from the surveys the CPI(M) conducted in Bhavnagar and Rajkot.


Despite the fact that Gujarat is now getting huge water supply from the Narmada river, the Modi regime has miserably failed  to rush its advantages to the rural Gujarat and the peasantry, because it has neglected the task of constructing the water channels and other infrastructure for the purpose. The disastrous result is that even, according to pro-Modi daily Divya Bhaskar, agriculture, industries and municipal areas are facing water supply cuts every now and then, while the lame alternative of supply through pipes has proved absolutely insufficient.


As for power supply, we know how the Modi regime doled out Rs eight crore to electricity major “Essar” quite illegally. No wonder the Supreme Court struck off the deal. All the same, even otherwise, the Modi regime has been paying for energy supply double the rates compared to other states. Yet the cities of Gujarat are suffering from power cuts once a week or more, while the farmers get electric supply at night only. For household consumption of electricity, the rates have been constantly increasing and the Modi regime’s love for the Essar group is such that the rates are more than double than elsewhere. The common man thus faces the danger of remaining in darkness as his power bill increases every month.


In its love for the newly coming industrial houses, financers and investors, the Modi government is allotting them the grazing lands that are kept reserved for cattle-feed grazing, including the lands that are in proximity to water and electricity supply sources. Though there are barren lands at a distance from the water and electricity supply sources and they are absolutely vacant, the Modi government does not touch these lands.


In case of labour laws, the Modi regime has rendered its own labour department quite ineffective and has deprived all its officers from the direct inspection authority whatsoever. No officer can do any surprise inspection of any industrial area whatsoever.


The Modi regime has amended ten labour laws, depriving the workers of several of their rights. The result is that no worker can directly approach a court of law whatsoever for his or her legitimate rights including the right of eight hours of duty or an overtime otherwise. Labour courts have been as if reduced to civil courts while many posts of labour court judges remain vacant. Also, many posts of civil judges who are authorised to hear at least the case under the Minimum Wages Act are lying vacant.


On the law and order front, Gujarat is the only state whose home minister has been charged and jailed on criminal charges though he is now out on bail. While another minister, namely Mayaben Kodnani, was promoted in the hierarchy for her role during the anti-Muslim pogroms of 2002, she has now been sentenced to lifetime jail for her role. In Gujarat’s police department too, quite a number of top police officials are in jail under various criminal charges and/or for dereliction of duty. No other state in the country, including even those ruled by the BJP, can equal Gujarat in this kind of lawlessness --- under a person who is now dreaming of becoming the country’s prime minister.  


It was precisely for these reasons that the CPI(M) has appealed to the Gujarat electorate to reject the BJP outright but not to vote for the Congress either. The CPI(M) has been pointing out that the Congress is no alternative to the BJP rule, as both these parties are quite one in regard to anti-people policies as well as in regard to corruption scams.


CPI(M) state secretary and Central Committee member Arun Mehta too addressed the rally, giving graphic details of Narendra Modi’s misrule in Gujarat.