People's Democracy

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


No. 03

January 20, 2013




DYFI Cadres Stage 4000 Km Padayatra


S P Rajendran


THE state unit of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) in Tamilnadu created history when it successfully organised a padayatra, covering a 4000 kilometres long distance across the state.


Starting from eight different points in the state on December 1, 2012, the long march of the dedicated cadres of DYFI culminated at Thiruchi on December 22.


The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the DYFI has also called upon the youth of the state to join the “Occupy Parliament Street" action on March 23, 2013. It was in preparation for this action and campaign on the core issues facing the people, including massive unemployment, as well as for popularising a set of alternative policies for the welfare of the toiling masses that the Tamilnadu state committee of the DYFI organised the 22 days long padayatra.


Demanding implementation of the Sethu Samudram project, an early solution for the long standing power crisis, immediate reversal of price rise of various goods including fuels, and to fight against the growing drug addiction among the youth and student communities in the state, the DYFI’s padayatra crossed 10 cities, hundreds of towns and townships, thousands of villages, and directly contacted lakhs of people.


More than 300 youth, including eight young women, enthusiastically participated as regular team members in the padayatra. Each of the padayatra teams was joined by thousands of other youth at the district level.


The first team of 40 members, including three young women cadres, started from Kolloncode, the southernmost border of Tamilnadu in Kanniyakumari district. It was led by S Muthu Kannan, state president of the organisation. This team traversed more than 800 km distance through eight districts in south Tamilnadu before it reached Thiruchi.


DYFI state secretary R Velmurugan led another team from Chennai. This was flagged off by N Sankariah, a veteran leader of the Indian communist movement and freedom fighter. This team covered six districts in north Tamilnadu. In all, this team walked down more than 600 km.


State treasurer of the organisation, S Bala, led a team from Pudhucherry. This team covered a 600 km distance through five eastern districts of the state.


A team from Mettupalayam in Coimbatore district, led by state vice president L Shanmugasundaram, covered a distance of 560 km through western districts.


DYFI state joint secretary M Senthil led a team from Kummidipoondi in Thiruvallur district. This team covered a 700 km distance.


State vice president K Prabhakaran led a team from Thenkanikottai in Krishnagiri district. It covered a 500 km distance.


Another state vice president V Stalin led a team from Rameshwaram, the core centre of the Sethu Samudram project. This team covered a 400 km distance.


The eighth team was led by state vice president A R Babu. It started from Theni and covered a distance of 300 km.


These eight teams addressed 160 sizeable public meetings and more than 2000 reception meetings en route, with the dedicated involvement of more than 50,000 cadres and members of the DYFI, organised in more than 3500 units under 350 taluk and local committees across the state. They earned rich experiences through face to face contacts with lakhs of people, various situations and various issues related to the life and livelihood of the downtrodden people. The padayatra of these eight teams finally culminated in a massive public meeting at Thiruchi where thousands of youth gathered to give a warm welcome to the padayatra teams.




The meeting was addressed by M A Baby, a former leader of the DYFI and at present a member of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau.


Welcoming and greeting the padayatra cadres, M A Baby narrated in detail the anti-people and anti-national policies of the UPA government. He claimed that on the whole the number of jobs was getting reduced in the country as a result of the policies being pursued by the centre. The rate of growth of employment had declined from 2.7 per cent to 0.8 per cent in the recent years which is an alarming trend, Baby said. Employment in the organised sector was getting reduced on the one hand and contract employment was increasing on the other, the speaker said, accusing the rulers of not doing anything to create new employment opportunities. On the contrary, they are out to kill the jobs available in the government and public sector undertakings, Baby said.


“We demand that state governments, following the policies of the central government, reverse their policy of ban on new recruitments, abolish the contract system, and stop outsourcing,” he emphatically said.


Prime minister Manmohan Singh and deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia speak of growth of the Indian economy. But this growth was “lopsided and a jobless growth,” not creating any employment opportunities, Baby claimed. The neo-liberal economic policies have also destroyed the agriculture sector, compelling a large number of farmers to commit suicide.


Blaming the DMK and the AIADMK for the power crisis plaguing Tamilnadu today, Baby said a lack of long-term planning had led to this situation. The problem was not being taken care of by the present regime which was sympathetic to foreign multinational companies, he added.


CITU state committee’s general secretary A Soundararajan, DYFI vice president Barath Raj and CPI(M) district secretary S Sridhar also addressed the meeting apart from the DYFI’s state level leaders.




R Velmurugan, state secretary of the DYFI, shared some interesting and inspiring experiences about this big programme. He said: “In earlier years too, the DYFI has in the state organised cycle yatras and motorcycle yatras on the issues related to employment. But this time it was a 4,000 km long padayatra, which is a significant point. In reality this huge programme of campaign and propaganda has much inspired the cadres of the DYFI in many ways. The 22 days’ continuous walking was really a tough task. Many comrades experienced burns, cracks and eruptions in their legs in the first two or three days. However, they forgot their pains when they met lakhs of people and thousands of youth. They were witness to their affection towards the team members as well as their strong hopes from organisations like the DYFI and from the Left movement for the sake of their future. So many organisations other than Left organisations, including the youth wings of the ruling parties, across the state gave the team members a warm reception in various districts.”


DYFI state president S Muthu Kannan pointed out the involvement of young women cadres in the padayatra. Among the eight women comrades, S Guna Sundari is a member of the DYFI state secretariat. Earlier she had participated in a statewide cycle jatha too. She had had a jail life of seven days for participating in the DYFI’s movement. Another girl comrade was Pushpa Rani. She is a state level player and gold medalist in boxing tournament.  An 11 year old boy, Fidel Castro, also inspired the yatra participants, as he participated in it and walked down the entire 500 km distance from Coimbatore. M A Baby hugged the boy and felicitated him.


S Bala, treasurer of the Tamilnadu state unit of DYFI, said: “One lakh booklets explaining the demands and alternative policies were sold among the people across the state. More than seven lakh pamphlets were distributed among the people. As many as 50,000 posters, 2,000 wall paintings and 2,000 big hoardings were brought out by the state committee and district committees for the padayatra. Also, Rs 3.40 lakh were collected by the team members from the people during their their walking.


DYFI state secretariat members N S Asokan, Sasi Kumar, P Balasubramaniyan, Senthil Kumar, Sridhar, S K Sekar, Uma Maheswaran and Vadivel also participated in the yatra.